On behalf of DiscoverE, sponsor of this post, I’m delighted to introduce you to Sarah Mihm, an engineering student at the University of Iowa. Sarah is spending this Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day) on a boat-she’s studying abroad doing the Semester at Sea program. If she were on land, surely she’d once again spend it giving back to a program that helped inspire her course of study.
DiscoverE’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
Girl Day is a movement launched by DiscoverE that shows girls how creative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world. If you’re an engineer or engineering student, you are a powerful role model. In just a single visit you can inspire girls to pursue rewarding careers in engineering. Read how Girl Day made an impact on Sarah and then continue below for information on how to participate in the 2016 Girl Day on February 25, 2016.
How did Girl Day at Rockwell Collins influence your decision to study engineering?
Girl Day really helped me to solidify why I wanted to study engineering. We made a prosthetic hand that was being sent to someone who needed one. It helped me see that engineering is ultimately about helping people and that really inspired me to pursue it. We also got to tour all of the cool labs and fly a plane in a flight simulator, which was awesome. All of the women that helped out that day were very encouraging and they were all confident well-rounded women and it made me see that I could make my dream a reality if I followed in their footsteps.
You said that in high school you were the only girl in your engineering class. How did things change once you got college?
I went to a small school and the engineering program was new, so by default, I was the only girl. When I got to Iowa State, I started in aerospace engineering and there were maybe five girls in my whole class, but there were also five times the people, so the ratio was the same. We all got along and studied together. It was nice to see all the girls come together and unite. It was a cool atmosphere and it was nice to be able to share stories with other girls about what they were experiencing in their design groups.
How do you volunteer to help girls learn about engineering careers?
I started volunteering in high school when I went to camp. I became a counselor and pushed to get some kind of STEM program up there. When I did an internship with Rockwell Collins in the spring of 2014, I had the opportunity to volunteer for Girl Day, something that helped me become the engineer I am today. I help out because I want girls to have the same opportunities I did growing up. I want them to have a role model. Even if they only know me for the day, I want to inspire them to make a change in the world and always go after what they want.
Reflecting the twists, turns and highlights of your engineering journey, what advice to you have for girls who want to follow in your footsteps?
I tell girls who are considering engineering to push through the tough parts. There are so many opportunities out there if you are confident, have a drive, passion and perseverance. You can do anything that you want to.
Anything else you want to add?
I want to add that if you aren’t happy in one area of engineering, try a different one. I am now in industrial engineering, when I started out in aerospace engineering. You just need to find what you are interested in.
Get started today to make a difference on Girl Day
If you’re an engineer or engineering student, sign up as a Girl Day role model. Teachers, librarians and interested parents can:
- Do engineering activities with girls you know
- Show girls what a career in engineering looks like.
- Click here (exact link on stemkidchicago.com is TBA) to find Engineer’s Week and Girl Day programs in Chicago.
- Share your insights, advice and programs with the hashtags #GirlDay2016 #BringItOut.