Calling All Role Models!

Contributed by DiscoverE, a nonprofit organization that helps unite, mobilize, and support the engineering and technology volunteer communities.

More and more girls and young women are discovering engineering. One of the most dynamic reasons for this is the tremendously positive effect of role models. For a talented, smart young woman who might be interested in engineering but isn’t sure how to go forward, a role model relationship can be incredibly empowering and energizing.LaTisha Durham

29 year old LaTisha Durham, who was recently honored as one of DiscoverE’s 2015 New Faces of Engineering, is one of those women engineers who understands the impact of being a role model. LaTisha works for the Naval Air Systems Command.  She is the Integrated Navigation, Controls and Displays System Lead for the Navy’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. As she explains her job, “Did you ever look at the cool electronics in a plane’s cockpit? I’m the lead who ensures that those cool electronics on military aircraft meet cost, schedule and performance.”

LaTisha has made a commitment to helping ease the way for girls who want to explore engineering careers. “When girls see a woman who looks like them, in a field they don’t know much about, they are intrigued,” she says. “As women engineers, we have to make sure we give young girls the chance to see that they can do anything they put their minds to. No profession is off limits. When I make presentations to girls, they get excited about STEM careers and often want to talk to me after. I know I’m making a difference.”

Another awesome role model is Jade Groen, Principal Program Manager and Co-Chair of the Rockwell Collins Women’s Forum. Jade had a fantastic role model – her mother! Jade’s mother earned a degree in computer science and worked in the tech industry. She was the epitome of a strong woman in technology. Jade is now committed to passing along the same ideals to girls and young women that her mother passed to her – she wants to ensure that the girls she speaks with understand that their future in STEM careers is bright and that their options are limitless – just as her mother taught her. 

Jade GroenJade has embraced Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Girls are able to see first-hand what an engineering environment is like, ask questions of women engineers and finish the day with an awesome hands-on activity. The girls recognize that engineering is completely within their reach – because they’ve spent the day using their engineering skills! 

Like LaTisha, Jade has also seen how girls are more likely to aspire to a career if they see people who look like them thriving, succeeding and enjoying their jobs. Jade also recognizes that role modeling doesn’t stop once women engineers enter the workplace. It’s just as important that women in senior executive leadership roles take the time to role model younger, up and coming professionals.

Girl Day February 25, 2016Role models change lives by helping girls and young women move into challenging, exciting engineering careers. Now is the time to step up and become a Girl Day role model. You can sign up here. We will provide you with the tips, tools and resources you need to bring out the engineer in every girl. Then, prepare to be amazed at the lasting impact you can have, just by doing what you do best as you show the way for the next generation of women engineers.