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Women in Engineering and the Power of STEM – #Eweek2017

Charli's Blog
Women in Engineering and STEM

Women in Engineering and the Power of STEM – #Eweek2017

Today, I snuck away from the office to the movie theatre with my sister.  Hang on! before you get too excited, it was actually to do a little research for writing this very blog… and of course to share the experience with one of the smartest ladies I know…my sister!

The backstory; I recently watch the Golden Globes where I heard about a movie called Hidden Figures, sounded interesting so I took a mental note to go and watch it…  Then, last night I saw a tweet that said this movie had inspired girls to take up careers in ***STEM.  I didn’t read the whole article as it was ‘shut off the phone time’, I did however immediately contacted my sister, a nurse and lover of science and #girlpower, to see when she was available to go see this movie.

Well I just have to say – YOU HAVE TO SEE IT! It is the best movie I have seen in a while.  But, there is more… It is more than just a story. It is a TRUE story.  I’ll try not to give all of it away but consider this your spoiler alert.

It is a movie about three women that work behind the scenes at NASA, until they decide to ‘push the bar’… and move front and center to one of the most important NASA space missions of all time! Think about how their hearts must have been racing as the astronaut successful splashed down safely at the end of his mission, all because of their work! These three women (Numbers – a pure genius in calculating numbers, Engineer – a phenomenal engineering mind, and the Supervisor who thought “mechanically”) had very different jobs but worked for one purpose… To get a man into space and back safely!

These three courageous women had to stand up for themselves individually and work hard, but they also had to be each other’s support group when they needed a little pep talk!

Let’s look at Numbers. She could calculate any problem without a calculator! But it wasn’t until the leader encouraged her (saying she was better at computing than anyone in the room) that you saw her stand up for herself and demand that she be recognized for her work. The leader’s confidence in her work is what helped her to the next level.

The Engineer was the most “mouthy” of the group.  She knew what should be done, but also realized not to have unrealistic dreams and focus on doing her work. It wasn’t until her #bossman encouraged her that she decided to become an engineer… She had many obstacles to face and she faced them by research, hard work, and confidence!  This is because her work environment allowed her to grow. I think this is key in any industry that is predominately male… We need more men willing to encourage #WomeninSTEM#WomeninTECH, and we need more women willing to ‘push the bar’. I’m a believer that this starts by encouraging high school girls that the ****STEM education Classes offered by their schools are great choices and are in fact really fun and cool – who wouldn’t want to learn the basics of robotics, I know I would.

I think the reason these ladies were successful was partly because they had each other… They looked out of one another, encouraged each other, and pushed each other outside their comfort zones. We need this in our industry… any industry.  Women Empowering Women.  Too many times, we judge each other or think only of competing. We can accomplish so much more if we push and support each other instead of pushing each other down. In the movie the leader in the group was the encourager, the one that pushed and supported the others to grow and eventually succeed.

I don’t have an engineering degree or think I could design anything at NASA but I can see talent in others and I believe in “CAN”.   The power of positivity is the topic of many blogs, books, and events – but the reality is that it starts with ‘you’ and it works best when you are encouraged and supported by those around you – just like in the movie….can you tell just how much I loved this movie!

My daughter isn’t an engineer “yet” 🙂 … but I hope to raise a leader who follows her own mind who understands she can accomplish her goals by doing the work!  The Dream Big mind set starts at a young age; and that is why I am actively supporting #Eweek2017.

So, as we look ahead to February we will be covering Engineering and Engineering Week! I am excited to participate in raising awareness to supporting DiscoveryE’s #Girl Day and help #BringitOut! Let’s teach our girls what engineers do, and then let them go #BethatEngineer!

Make sure you follow all the hashtags in this article and comment below with any great engineering stories you know!

***STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives

****This is the theory behind STEM education. By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully pursue a job in a STEM field.

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Comments

One response to “Women in Engineering and the Power of STEM – #Eweek2017”

  1. Ian Baynes says:

    Really great article Charli. I liked the parallel from the movie to STEM. I’m a great believer in STEM education in high schools and think it should be mandatory not an option, like it is in my sons school. Way too many talented teenagers, many of the girls as you do correctly pointed out, choose not to take a STEM class because they think it’s geeky or that their friends will laugh at them. I’ve seen and heard this when listening to my son and his friends talk. I know you’re a huge proponent of engineeeing and especially girls in engineering and i applaud you for shedding additional light on the topic.

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