Women in Engineering Offers Exciting Opportunities
“I’ve never been in a place with so many girls who have interests similar to mine,” says Rebecca Stover, soon to be a junior at Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan. “I love it here, and I don’t want it to end.”
Stover is among 140 young women in grades 9-11, from 10 states, who attended Women in Engineering at Michigan Technological University. The highly competitive scholarship program provides a chance for young women to investigate careers in engineering and science.
If Stover, a self-described “nerd,” realizes her career goals, she won’t become an engineer or scientist, but sees those areas as important to her future profession.
“My goal is to study forensic law at Yale. But I want a foundation of math and physics before I go to law school.”
WIE, which kicked off Michigan Tech’s world-renowned Summer Youth Programs, recruits and attracts outstanding young women who excel both in and out of the classroom. The program also attracts, as Stover found out, student leaders.
“We do a lot of group activities. I have always been a leader, but here all the girls are leaders. It took a bit of adjustment to work with so many who are just like me. But everyone enjoys working with others so we’re just trying to figure it out.”
Olivia Smith, of Mancelona, Michigan, also had some adjusting to do when it came to working in a group.
“In school and other activities, I tend do everything myself,” she explains. “Here, I found that I can trust everyone.”
The two girls come from vastly different backgrounds—Stover has more than 250 students in her class whereas there are less than 45 students total in Alba High School, where Smith will be a sophomore this fall.
But they do share something in common, in addition to their love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Both have come to Michigan Tech and the WIE program by virtue of their academic merit—and by chance.
In a variation of the door prize concept, businesses attending the two events were entered into a drawing. But instead of a gift basket, the winners had the chance to change the life of a young woman from their community by giving her a scholarship to Women in Engineering at Michigan Tech.
Wolverine Power Cooperative of Cadillac, Michigan and TGW Systems of Spring Lake, Michigan were the winners of these unique prizes.
McConnon says she’s pleased with how things have worked out so far. She says the idea is to get companies who recruit Michigan Tech graduates to become involved in recruiting students to come to Tech for college.
“They know they want Michigan Tech grads,” McConnon says. “This program shows them we want high school students from their back yards to experience Michigan Tech.”
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