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Monday, February 23, 2015

What This World Needs is More Girl Engineers #BringItOut

Engineers are great. GIRL Engineers are awesome. I attended a well known STEM school and my college roommate and BFF is an engineer and statistician. I'm so lucky to know her and forever indebted to her for helping me through those tough match courses. 

Did you know only 1 in 10 minority women are gainfully employed as engineers?! One. In. Ten. Lawd. Whitney Houston (RIP) said "The children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way... " We need more girl engineers in our future. By the way, February 26th is Girl Day. More on that in a second. 

Last week, I was invited to check out #FutureCity2015 competition in DC. The theme being "Feeding Future Cities", students from all over the country were tasked with designing a futuristic urban farm environment to grow enough of one vegetable crop and one protein crop to feed their citizens. The catch? They only had $100 to spend to create this city. 

About Future City: (a STEM) program is a program of DiscoverE, a consortium of professional and ethical societies and major U.S. corporations. The annual Future City Competition for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students is held from September 2014 - February 2015. More than 40k students from 1,350 middle schools are participating nationwide in the regional competitions. The top prize at the National Finals is $7,500 for the organization’s STEM program plus a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama for the official team members, awarded by Bentley Systems, Inc.  
First thing I saw when I walked into the room was the diversity. Boys AND Girls of various ethnic backgrounds standing proudly next to their models and answering the judges' questions with ease. 

The model cities I viewed were hella impressive. This isn't your kindergarten macaroni project. The students designed their cities using led lights, tubing, running water and robotics. (All cities had to have at least one moving part) 

These days it is more important than ever for our youth to prosper and acquire strong STEM skills to be successful in their endeavors.  My niece likes working with her hands. First it was puzzles. Now she is at the age that she is discovering the power of a pencil and a blank piece of paper.  She's constantly asking me 50-11 questions and she can troubleshoot my iPhone faster than I can. Hold your horses, babygirl! If I'm paying attention, I could be using these moments with my niece to nurture her inner engineer and #BringItOut. 

1 in 10 minority girls are currently employed as engineers. Let's change that. 

Thanks to the bLink Marketing Network and DiscoverE, I was invited to attend the Future City competition and share my experience. Opinions here are my own. 

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