Caterpillar’s female engineers volunteered at a STEM boot camp to empower and motivate high school students to consider careers in the STEM field.
These are some reasons why Caterpillar engineers, Christiana Aguirre and Ursula Towne, chose their fields and why they volunteer to empower girls to learn more about STEM. Recently, Christiana and Ursula spoke to twenty-four local high school students at the third annual SWE STEM Bootcamp, held at Bradley University in Peoria, IL.
A total of fourteen female engineers from Caterpillar volunteered to assist in the boot camp activities and to talk to students about their careers, with the goal to empower and motivate them to consider a career in the STEM field. Christiana said it was rewarding to see the girls’ interest in science and engineering and, as a female engineer, knows how important it is to have more diversity in the field. She has become involved in outreach activities like this boot camp, because she believes ‘the only way to attract more women (to STEM) is to reach out to them at a young age, and show them how much they could improve and change the world.’
‘Girls from different schools, economic backgrounds and ethnicity attended the camp’ says Christiana, to explore mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as computer programming concepts through fun, hands-on activities.
The boot camp offered a variety of engineering and programming activities from constructing a ball launcher to using Adafruit Circuit Playground Express. In addition, the volunteers coached students on building professional resumes and preparing for job interviews with a focus on improving their confidence. The volunteers also provided information about SWE Scholarships and registered students for SWENext (free SWE membership for girls under 18).
This event was made possible through combined efforts of the event sponsors: Caterpillar and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the University of IL Extension Office and Bradley University.