General Motors engineers from GM Women (Women Offering Mentoring, Expertise and Networking) and the Latino Network partnered to create a memorable presentation to celebrate and encourage women’s involvement in STEM. Speaking from their own experiences and from challenges they faced, the panel of female engineers stressed the importance of having more women in engineering and business fields. They prepared an engaging activity that challenged students to think creatively, and concluded by sharing personal experiences while answering questions from the students.
The workshop took off with an activity designed to parallel what happens during a car crash, and what engineers must consider with regard to passenger safety. The engineers tasked students with creating a device capable of protecting an egg when dropped from a high distance. Students focused on protecting the egg when it fell by creating a cushion and slowing down the fall to lessen the impact. All of the teams successfully created devices that survived the drop, and all had a good time while doing so. After the activity, the workshop transitioned into a presentation in which the women shared their journeys to where they are today and described their jobs with GM. Students were then encouraged to ask questions about the women’s experiences and about working at GM as a whole.
In an effort to reach a wide audience, the workshop was open to all Northville High School students. Sophomore Nina Moskyi, who is not on the Robostangs team, said, “I really enjoyed hearing the women in STEM presentation because it’s difficult to feel represented in certain career paths and subjects that are very male dominated. It was good to hear that they all found success in their careers regardless of their gender.”
The panel of presenters influenced students by making them think about the actions they take and how those actions can affect someone’s life. Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of students seeking out leadership opportunities, no matter how big or small, in their daily lives.