Middle School Students, STEM Professionals Kick Off Engineers Week at PLTW Offices With Girls In STEM Event

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 24, 2015) – To kick off Engineers Week, and in advance of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Thursday, Feb. 26, over 50 middle school girls from Fall Creek Valley Middle School in Indianapolis joined with 20 female professional engineers, scientists, forensic pathologists, and computer scientists to explore STEM careers on Monday evening during a Girls In STEM event.

The event, hosted at Project Lead The Way’s Indianapolis office, began with a welcome by Valerie Osinski, PLTW senior vice president and chief technology officer, followed by a brief keynote by Janette Allen, manager of requirements analysis and engineering at Roche Diagnostics. Next, the Girls In STEM guests got a sneak peek of PLTW’s 2015 GoGirl! video before jumping into interactive roundtable discussions and a hands-on activity. 

PLTW’s 2015 GoGirl! video premieres Thursday. Watch last year’s video on PLTW’s YouTube channel.

In the hands-on activity breakout session, students were challenged to come up with solutions for a hypothetical patient with bone cancer who lost his hand. Using only available materials – including wooden dowel rods, tape, pipe cleaners, craft wire, scissors – the students developed solutions to help the patient regain function through a device that could lift a Styrofoam cup.

After completing the prosthetic activity, students also had the opportunity to take robots for a test drive.

During the roundtable discussion portion of the evening, specialists in a wide variety of STEM professions – material engineer, coroner, electrical engineer, data scientist, project manager, developer, and more ­– spoke about their work and academic experiences and answered student questions.

To bring the evening to a close, students shared with the whole group their prosthetic design solutions and career aspirations, with several noting how their passions were reaffirmed while others noted that they were newly inspired to pursue STEM.

Girls In STEM Event Professional Participants

Name Organization Title
Ondrea McAulay Progression Partners Principal and Sr. Partner 
Allison Babcock MTD Products Mechanical Engineer
Cassandra Marino Natare Corporation CAD Design Engineer
Janette Allen  Roche Diabetes Care R&D Manager Requirements Analysis and Engineering
Lindsay Siovaila Girl Develop It / Salesforce Senior Solutions Developer
Virginie Adams Girl Develop It / Salesforce Project Manager
Kayleigh Cowles  INDOT-Seymour District Traffic Coordination Engineer 
Alfie Ballew Marion County Coroner Chief Deputy Coroner 
Christin Schippnick Roche Diagnostics R&D Project Manager
Barb Wimmer Marian University  Nursing Student
Jamie Hubbard Girl Scouts  Program Development Manager
Camille Warren Great Lakes Equity Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation
Cathy Stein Perscio Sr. Data Scientist and Partner Manager
Mary McGuire Remy International Inc. Senior Continuous Improvement Manager 
Victoria DiFranco  Rolls-Royce  Electrical Engineering, Co-op Student 
Alexandra Baucco   Rolls-Royce  Test Engineer, U.S. and Germany 
Melissa Hughes  Rolls-Royce  Engineer
Jessica Durden  Rolls-Royce  Material Engineer 
Diane Colson Eli Lilly Director, Engineering Tech Center 
Leah Cosgrove JustCos Engineering Principal Engineer
Carletta Sullivan McKenzie Center for Innovation & Technology Community Liaison

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is a national effort held each February to introduce more young women to the exciting careers of engineering and STEM. Women constitute 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but hold just 24 percent of the U.S. jobs in STEM; minority women hold just one out of every 10 STEM jobs.