‘Girls in Engineering’ event broadens horizons for students at six schools

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Students from six HISD middle schools—Cullen, Gregory-Lincoln, Hogg, Holland, Stevenson, and Williams—spent the morning exploring engineering, thanks to an ExxonMobil event for national “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.”

ExxonMobil provided engineers and supplies for a day of events, which included testing the girls’ problem-solving skills by challenging them to create marshmallow-launching catapults. While the marshmallows flew, other groups of girls got to speak with current University of Texas engineering students about their field, and with college admissions officers about getting into college.

“I think it just creates a lot of excitement for girls,” said Julie Monteleone, a scheduler in the supply chain department at ExxonMobil. “It draws attention to the fact that engineering is something that they can pursue.”

Less than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) fields are held by women, and only 14 percent are in engineering, according to the latest Economics and Statistics Administration Report.

“At first, I came here thinking engineering is probably boring,” said Holland eighth-grader Joseline Guzman. “But I’m just going to go check it out and see what my options are. So I came, and I saw, and I had so much fun. It definitely changed my opinion.”

In HISD, there are many options for students to explore careers in STEM, with at least 41 high schools offering a STEM endorsement.

“This is a great event, and I’m happy the company decided to sponsor it,” said Ashley Harvell, procurement associate and former instrumentation engineer for ExxonMobil. “These ladies are our future.”