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On the last day of LIFT and GSSEM’s partnership series, Think Like an Engineer, U.S. Representative, Haley Stevens, joined in on the fun to discuss the importance of women in STEM.
LIFT, the Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute, and GSSEM launched the virtual series with goals of encouraging local Girl Scouts in grades 8-12 to explore careers in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Girls participated in hands-on challenges and discussed advanced manufacturing career options with LIFT Staff and industry members; an important dialogue as women are underrepresented in STEM careers. According to a 2018 National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up 47% of the overall workforce, but only 28% of the science and engineering workforce.
Congresswoman Stevens considers herself, not only a member of Congress, but an “engineering enthusiast,” so this was the perfect opportunity for girls to get even more insight on the importance of STEM. She got her start in STEM working at a research lab, when she found out there were plans for huge budget cuts in scientific research funding. With no support for STEM research and no one else speaking up, she decided to take a stand. The rest is history.
As one could imagine, the girls were super excited and prepared with several questions for her, including the effects of COVID-19 on the workforce, her recommendation on engineering jobs for them to explore, and her overall experience in science.
One Girl Scout asked for advice on how to make the most of a difficult year.
“I had to adapt like anyone else, but, also do what any successful woman knows they have to do,” she said, as she leaned into the camera. “Which is be FEARLESS! I’m going to be fearless, and I’m going to lead with what is in my heart, and what I know is right, and continue to try and help people.”
Another girl asked what jobs Stevens thought would be in demand the year she graduated from high school in 2026. Stevens pointed to many upcoming advancements in civil, electrical, aerospace engineering, but also encouraged girls to follow their dreams.
“Find what you’re passionate about!” she exclaimed. “Talk to experts in the field, and explore what makes you happy.”
The complete discussion lasted for several minutes, and the girls were left engaged and inspired to get even more involved in STEM programming.
“I’m really, really impressed and amazed,” said the Congresswoman. “I love that you all are thinking about engineering. You’re going to change the world. Trust me.”