For six years I’ve been an Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day) Role Model, helping inspire girls and give them confidence to pursue their interest in engineering. As a mentor, I get to make a difference by sharing my knowledge, experiences, and some fun workshop projects! As female engineers, we all have a responsibility to inspire, support, and encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
When I was a child my engineer father took me to his workplace and made a point to introduce me to all the female engineers. These women taught me that anything is possible. In college, I became a role model when I mentored elementary school girls in “Intro to Mechanical Engineering” workshops, allowing them to have a safe space to work on engineering projects together.
Each year for Girl Day, and as often as I can, I attend local elementary schools and present an engineering project. Last year, I focused on different types of energy and energy conservation. I gave them a Matchbox car and a box of materials (balloons, rubber bands, magnets, etc.) and challenged them to take what they had learned about energy and make their cars race across the table without touching them. You can find activities like this here.
There were many different solutions to the same problem of converting potential energy into kinetic energy and I am proud to say that, given encouragement and the confidence boost, the all-female groups came up with the best solution in the class!
Each workshop has become a real highlight of being a female engineer and increases my commitment to motivate young women to get excited about STEM through Girl Day. I encourage you to inspire the next generation of female engineers and sign up as a Girl Day role model today!
Marie Ottum is a Principal R&D Product Development Engineer - Surgical at TE Connectivity - Medical. She earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University and holds a M.S. in Engineering and Technology Management from Portland State University.