Schneider Electric supports Power Systems Engineer Elissa in mentoring STEM students


Schneider Electric supports engineer Elissa to mentor others

Schneider Electric supports engineer Elissa to mentor others

 August 18, 2020

Schneider Electric supports young people with opportunities to strengthen their abilities and achieve global action.

Through internships, early careersscholarships, career development programs and working with young people in local communities, the company empowers youth.

Elissa is an EcoStruxure Power Systems Engineer at Schneider Electric based out of Smyrna, Tennessee.

Through Schneider Electric partner TryEngineering Together, she mentors young people online.

Elissa shares her fulfilling experience of inspiring young people to pursue STEM careers - and why she's grateful that Schneider Electric gave her the opportunity to invest in the future.

Supported by mentors early in life

"There’s one question that I’m asked most often after someone hears that I studied Mechanical Engineering or that I have pursued a technical career with Schneider Electric – what made you interested in engineering?" she explains.

I’ve seen it several times at STEM events. When kids are asked to close their eyes and picture an engineer, the answer is almost always “a man in a lab coat” or “a guy working on a train”. When we ask them to open their eyes and tell them that all of the women and men in front of them are engineers, their perspective starts to shift."

For Elissa, the answer to the question, “What made you interested in engineering?” has always been the mentors in her life. From a young age, she was encouraged to pursue her passion for problem-solving and to lean into the interest that she found in math and physics. Even though she doesn't fit the description that kids picture when they close their eyes, she had mentors who invested in her regardless.

Becoming a STEM mentor

Ever since Elissa started her career with Schneider Electric, she has had the opportunity to participate in events that encourage the next generation to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math.

When the eMentoring program started through TryEngineering Together, she knew this would be the chance to give back the reassurance and motivation that she has seen as such a positive impact on her journey.

As an eMentor, Elissa was paired with an elementary school student to work with throughout the year. She read articles and engaged in STEM-related conversations, allowing the students to ask questions about her career and experiences.

Because Elissa worked with the same student throughout the year, she was able to build a more meaningful relationship with them. She could better understand their interests and was able to see their horizons expand and perspectives shift over time.

"It’s definitely rewarding when you can see an increase in a student’s engagement and excitement behind learning something new," she adds.

Telling students "yes, you can"

The most important thing that Elissa learned in her time as a mentor is that students need to hear, “Yes, you can.”

"It’s as simple as that," she says.

Elissa explains that, so often, the only thing holding these students back is the idea that they don’t fit perfectly in the picture that is painted in their mind.

"Instead of teaching students how to fit into the picture, we need to give them the paintbrush," she explains. 

"When we can share our experiences with them and show them that every path is different with challenges and victories, we teach them how to paint their own picture and write their own story."

"After telling a student, “yes, you can,” mentorship also encourages them that they are not alone. A student once looked at me overwhelmed by the studying she would have to do to pursue a career in STEM, but relief overcame her when I explained that there is help at every step in the journey. In a world where we are told to make something of ourselves, it’s helpful to be reminded that we don’t have to do so by ourselves," she adds.

The opportunity to invest in the future

For Elissa, although mentorship can be a challenge, it’s one that comes with a big reward.

"While we have so much to offer the next generation in encouragement and experience, they can quickly become the ones teaching us something as well," she says.

"I’m thankful for Schneider Electric’s partnership with TryEngineering Together and look forward to the continued opportunity to give back and invest in the future!"


Inspire the next generation with a career at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric understands the importance of increasing female representation in STEM careers.

So if this appeals to you, search and apply for a job with the company.

 

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