Schneider Electric partnerships support girls in STEAM

Schneider Electric partnerships support girls in STEAM

 March 18, 2019

Schneider Electric is partnering with schools across the US on activities like its Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference. The aim of these exciting partnerships is to make sure that STEAM-educated students are prepared to fill the technical jobs needed to support Schneider Electric and other businesses.

An underrepresentation of women in STEAM

Recent research shows that women are greatly underrepresented in lots of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields. Women in the United States represented only 26% of computer and mathematical jobs and only 14% of architecture and engineering jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Despite these statistics, time and again girls have been equally as successful in STEAM fields as their male counterparts. 

“Having the opportunity to educate women that any career is possible for them is essential. Exposing them to experts in the space is essential. And having them dream a little bit and think a little bit beyond what they thought they could ever do is really important,” says Susan Holliday, Associate Superintendent, Education Services of Capistrano Unified School District.

Susan understands the importance of STEAM programs for showing the career opportunities available to girls.

Enhancing STEAM learning opportunities

Kathleen Neff, Account Manager at Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services, went to the inaugural Schneider Electric Girls in STEAM Empowerment event that inspired girls to dream big.

"I’ve seen the advancement of technology completely change K-12 education over the last decade. Today’s teachers know the workforce of tomorrow needs stronger technical and critical thinking skills. They realize engaging students in real-world lessons around science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) is essential to prepare them for the 21st-Century economy," explains Kathleen.

"I know first-hand how hard it can be for teachers with funding constraints to provide the STEAM resources needed to empower students. That’s why it’s important for educators and companies that will hire these girls in the future to enhance STEAM learning opportunities for students."

"The struggle to provide ample STEAM opportunities and inspiration is especially difficult when it comes to girls. Even in 2019, STEAM programs for girls are hard to find. Young girls aren’t encouraged by society to develop and explore STEAM skills, nor pursue these careers when the time comes," she adds.

The first annual Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference

Kathleen was so excited to be involved Schneider Electric’s first annual Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference because it presented an exciting opportunity to encourage a girl's interest in a STEAM career.

During the event, Schneider Electric showcased a range of STEAM fields by having six successful and impressive women share the story of how they started and have continued progressing in their own STEAM career. The conference also involved hands-on activities in a positive and supportive environment for the girls  to feel empowered to pursue STEAM careers.

“I’ve been to other events similar to this, but this event has really struck something in me," said Cinea, an eighth grader who dreams of being an animator.

"My favorite part of today was learning about all the people with different experiences," added Milea, an eighth grader with aspirations of becoming an aero-systems engineer.

STEAM events make a positive impact on women's careers

It’s clear that events like the Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference are a fantastic way to inspire young women to pursue classes, extra-curriculars, internships, and eventually careers in STEAM.

Schneider Electric are always looking for opportunities to promote positive beliefs regarding women's abilities in math and science. 

"As a woman, I’m particularly excited that we are now working to help give teachers the tools and resources they need to engage girls in STEAM careers," says Kathleen.

"As we work with schools across the state and the country, we’ll continue offering activities and events at no cost like the Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference. Schneider Electric has a vital interest in supporting STEAM programs for girls and boys across the country. We have to make sure STEAM-educated students are prepared to fill the technical jobs needed to support our business and so many others." she adds.

“Education, first and foremost, needs to expose our students to STEAM so that students are problem solving, critically thinking and working together,” says Susan. “That just further prepares our students for the careers that are going to be there. Careers that we don’t even know about today. And if they have those skills and that understanding and that foundation, they’re going to be better prepared to serve our world.”

That’s why it’s vitally important to inspire girls like Cinea and Milea to not only pursue STEAM careers, but also to show them that anything is possible.

“Having this meeting is amazing because it tells me that yes, you’re a girl and you might be a minority, but just keep pushing,” says Cinea.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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