Building Steam for STEM

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now make up nearly 60 percent of the overall workforce in the United States, but they are much less represented in particular science and engineering occupations. That’s a statistic that resonates throughout the world, and it’s one Caterpillar Inc. is dedicated to changing. It was the focus of a recent Caterpillar STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) camp on July 16 called "4G: Gadgets, Games, Girls and GENIUS.”

Peoria-area Reman, Components & Work Tools Division employees worked together to host the event with the aim of  introducing middle school girls to exciting careers in engineering at Caterpillar. Caterpillar leaders believe girls and women are key in addressing the world's toughest challenges.

“By engaging young students early in their education, we can expose them to the benefits of working in an inclusive environment where they can really make an impact on the world with their innovative ideas,” Steel Products and Work Tools General Manager Ken Hoefling said.

More than 30 Peoria-area students attended the East Peoria, Illinois, Caterpillar STEM camp—a fun, interactive and educational day that included several interactive learning stations focused on engineering principles, innovations, teamwork and Caterpillar’s products and technology. Click here for a video overview of the camp.

In addition to the interactive programming, the middle school girls visited the virtual engineering lab in Building CV and made a trip to the Mechanical Lab in Building LC. The students also had the opportunity to hear from Hoefling and former Society of Women Engineers (SWE) president and Caterpillar employee Stacey DelVecchio. Other female employees shared their experiences in engineering and supply chain throughout the day.

“It makes me proud to work for a company that encourages its employees to engage and inspire our youth and future female leaders,” DelVecchio said. “We need more women working in STEM fields at Caterpillar and throughout the world, and I am continually inspired seeing young girls light up with interest and enthusiasm about the possibilities that lie within the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

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