Girls Explore STEM Careers, Receive Encouragement from TI Staff
Elizabeth Torres (from left), Natalie Rodriguez and Brenda Ramos from Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School construct a shelter during Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at UT Dallas.
At UT Dallas’ Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, high school students got plenty of evidence that a STEM career is hardly just for guys.
About 50 freshmen from Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School attended the annual event, also called Girl Day, to encourage girls to consider science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The ninth-graders met female UT Dallas students studying engineering and other STEM fields, plus alumnae who are engineers at Texas Instruments.
“You can go anywhere with this degree,” Nusha Laleh, a mechanical engineering senior, told the group.
Two months before graduation, Laleh said she already has five job offers.
Texas Instruments employees, who participated through the TI Women’s Initiative, talked to students about the wide variety of jobs in the engineering field. UT Dallas alumna Fern Yoon BS’07 MS’08 said she loves telling students about her work helping design and test automotive applications for Texas Instruments.
“It’s been a pleasure for me to come back every year to do this event,” Yoon said.
Speakers at the event worked to shatter stereotypes about the male-dominated field.
Katie Pier BS’09 MS’10, an engineer at Texas Instruments, was among the guests who spoke to students at the annual event.
“I think girls should know that it’s not just guys who do this,” said Katie Pier BS’09 MS’10, an applications engineer at Texas Instruments.
Pier said some women may not realize that engineering involves helping people and working as part of a team.
“It’s not just someone who’s in their basement — a guy trying to build a robot,” UT Dallas student Maribel Velazquez told the group. Velazquez attended Girl Day when she was a student at Irma Rangel. Now at UT Dallas, Velazquez considered engineering but opted for business administration instead.
Regardless of what career path the students choose, Introduce a Girl to Engineering aims to open up an option that young women may not have considered, said Narcely Ruiz, assistant director of the Galerstein Women’s Center, who leads the development of the annual event co-hosted by the Department of Community Engagement. The UT Dallas event, sponsored in cooperation with the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the Texas Women’s Initiative, is one of many similar events nationwide during Engineers Week.
“It’s about young women making informed decisions about their career choices,” Ruiz said. “We want to show girls that engineers can come up with solutions that have a major impact on the world.”
“It’s about young women making informed decisions about their career choices. We want to show girls that engineers can come up with solutions that have a major impact on the world.”
The event highlighted UT Dallas senior Nancy Dominguez, who has made headlines for her work to develop a device that would prevent children from being left in hot cars.
The Irma Rangel students participated in their own activities to test their engineering skills. Some of the groups had an hour to build a shelter using bamboo poles, duct tape, plastic bags, scissors, pen and paper for hypothetical victims of an ice storm.
Natalie Rodriguez and her team added their own touch with a “Home, sweet home” sign. Rodriguez said that attending the event would make her give engineering some thought.
“I think it’s really cool that girls get an opportunity like this,” Rodriguez said. “We get a chance to think about what we can do.”
Vanessa Sarmiento, another Irma Rangel student who attended the event on campus, also said that attending Girl Day helped her evaluate the career possibility.
“I like to keep all my options open,” she said.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].