When most women are asked what made them want to pursue a career in engineering, they often talk about their interests, and, most often, they emphasize a role model who inspired them. Without this support, they would not be able to be as successful as they are today. No matter if you are a parent, teacher or an outreach volunteer, we are all working to support young, aspiring scientists, engineers, and future leaders. This month, we asked SWE members to talk about what being an adult advocate means to them!
Tracy Nguyen, O.D.
Poway High School SWE Counselor & FIRST Robotics Business Mentor
As a SWE Counselor and FIRST Robotics Business Mentor, advocacy for my students is to give them a voice and encourage them to reach their full potential. It is important to understand the strength and needs of the student and help the student to identify their goals. Oftentimes, I find they just need a little nudging to give them the confidence to take risks and be outside of their comfort zone. I have created many opportunities for my students to hone their 21st century skills in public speaking and communications. It has been a great honor to witness my students being empowered and the success that follows. I actively support these students to be aspiring STEM leaders and innovators because I believe in inclusivity and that they should have a voice at the table in every facet of society.
Colorado School of Mines SWE President
Being an adult advocate to me means clearing the way and leading by example for young aspiring scientists and engineers. As advocates we have the responsibility to show younger generations they can do anything they put their minds to as well as break down the stereotypes that stand in our way.
Binghamton University SWE Treasurer
Being an adult advocate to me means providing other women and young girls with the support and resources to be their truest self. Whether they want to be an astronaut, an engineer, a teacher, etc, I want to be able to help them get there. Especially at SWE, I love being a part of professional development events as well as immersing younger girls in the community into STEM. I doubted my ability and love of engineering for years until an adult advocate validated me. Now, it’s my turn to empower others.
Arizona State University SWE member
To me, being an adult advocate means inspiring the next generation of engineers. I am able to share my advice from the experiences that I have had with others. I know from firsthand experience that being an engineer can be very difficult at times, especially for women. However, I have had so many mentors and friends along the way that have supported me and helped me get to where I am today. As an advocate, I am able to give back and be that same mentor for a new generation of engineers.
Arizona State University SWE Member
Being an adult advocate means introducing students and parents to new concepts and materials in STEM. As an avid outreach volunteer, I focus on creating events and activities that engage both parents and students, this way the parents can continue to involve the students in STEM after the event. At Arizona State University, we focus on hosting open houses with hands-on activities that showcase fun engineering concepts for the students, and where the parents can also engage and teach the students. I have also implemented this idea of involving parents in learning by creating a mentorship program at my local high school. I specifically advertised the program to parents so they first understand the valuable resources provided by the program. When parents are aware and involved in the pursuit of education, then the student is more likely to remain interested and involved.
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