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Siemens hosts 11th Annual ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’

June 3, 2015
Evening event gives 130 local students chance to shine.
Siemens hosted more than 130 girls in grades 5-12 and their parents at the Siemens West Chicago plant on Friday, March 13 for the 11th annual "Introduce a Girl to Engineering," an evening where young women conduct design experiments, tour the factory and learn about careers in STEM and the manufacturing industry.

"I like to work with my dad building things and helping around the house," said Emily Carter, 13, an event participant and student at Belvedere Central Middle School. "But there are not many classes at school. It's cool to be here and learn how engineering works."

During "Introduce a Girl," participants were challenged to design and build a structure using dry spaghetti and marshmallows; construct a wind turbine from index cards, paper clips and a cork; and fly a paper airplane across the factory floor. This is just one of the many ways Siemens supports STEM initiatives, donating $7 million annually and even entering each participating girl for a chance to win iPads and books about engineering.

"Girls are underrepresented in this field and we want to inspire them and show them what's possible," said Jayne Beck, manager of motor control center engineering. Beck, who has nearly 40 years of engineering experience, introduced the program at the Siemens West Chicago plant in 2005.  Of the plant's approximately 75 engineers, about 10 percent are women, but "there's no reason that can't be an even, 50/50 split," said Beck. That number is even lower than the national average of women engineers, which sits at 12% currently.

Introduce a Girl proves very popular. The limited spots filled three weeks after invitations were sent and a waiting list quickly grew to more than 100 girls. About 65 employees have volunteered to support the event.