STEM Girls: If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Be It”

role model in letterpress type

I went to the WITI (Women in Technology International) Summit in June. Every speaker talked about STEM education – getting more of our kids to be proficient in STEM is vital for our future. Then I watched a Women of Google event and, I have to say, I’ve have had their mantra “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” stuck in my head for the past few months. I have a middle school age daughter. I want to make sure she at least understands the possibilities and opportunities that exist in science, technology, engineering and math careers, as she gets her education. I want her to have role models – starting now, before it’s too late.

An Intel Corporation colleague, who was in Portland from our Munich office, invited me to lunch. She is smart, international and modern. I was thinking she’d be a pretty perfect role model. When I asked her if I could bring my 12-year-old daughter and two of her school friends to have lunch with us in the café, she agreed without hesitation. The girls were excited about the “field trip” and even baked a cake for our IT department. Can you see the Intel logo on the cake? It was totally cute – and their own idea.

intelcake

They enjoyed lunch with my friend and asked her lots of questions about Germany and smart phone apps (her area of expertise). They wanted to know if she had ever met the guys who created Angry Birds. They were thrilled to hear that she does know them – and a lot of other app developers. After lunch they said they really liked my friend and that her job sounded pretty cool. They were definitely impressed. I was happy because I’d wanted them to meet and talk with a female role model – to “see it.”

But I think their absolute favorite part of the afternoon was checking out our high-tech pop machines. I guess it’s good to see even the small perks of working in high tech.

girls and pop machine

They also liked the wall of white boards in the conference room near my work area.

girls whiteboard

My favorite part of the afternoon? Walking to the car and hearing one my daughter’s friends say, “I want to work here when I grow up.” And the other two girls come back immediately with “Yeah, me too.” That made me smile.

As a mom, I’m grateful to everyone at Intel who helped me show these girls a small part of our company that day. It is my hope that maybe some day they “will be it.”

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