How we’re helping future female engineers
There has long been a gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Despite concerted efforts by public and private organizations alike, the discrepancy of male and female workers remains striking: the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic and Statistics Administration issued a report in November 2017 that stated women still hold only 24 percent of STEM jobs in the United States.
One way experts say we can lift that number? By ensuring young girls see strong female role models thriving in STEM careers.
That’s why, in 2015, Stantec co-created the Girls & Science event held annually at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver, Colorado.
In March 2018, Stantec continued to serve as the title sponsor for Girls & Science. The fourth installment of the event provided participants—young girls and boys, together with their families—an opportunity to interact with two-dozen female career mentors from a range of STEM fields.
“It was fantastic to see how many children came out with their families to learn about potential STEM careers,” says Girls & Science mentor and principal civil engineer Carmen Bernedo Sanchez (Denver, Colorado). Carmen led activities at one of the event’s clubhouses, where she helped more than 8,000 attendees learn about soil erosion and dam construction.
The 2018 mentors included meteorologists, geologists, ecologists, horticulturists, a mathematician, a CAD jewelry designer, a cardiac anesthesiologist, and a fossil preparator, among others.
“Reaching girls at a young age, while their minds still have a sponge-like quality, is vital,” says Carmen. “When you interact with these children—some as young as 4—and listen to the questions they ask, you can quickly see they’re beginning to shape the way they see the world. We want to make sure STEM is a compelling part of the conversation before it’s too late.”
Stantec is committed to encouraging the next generation of engineers, and supports a range of STEM events worldwide. In 2017, our Anchorage, Alaska staff partnered with the Anchorage School District, ExxonMobil, and the Girl Scouts of Alaska to support Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Stantec team members regularly volunteer in primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom and other locations as well.
“We’ve got to take part in events like these to ensure we can continue to grow a vibrant, diverse workforce within our own company,” says Carmen. “That diversity of people brings a diversity of ideas and solutions for our clients.”
International Women in Engineering Day is observed on June 23 annually. In 2018, the event was again granted patronage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Want to learn more?
Stantec is committed to promoting gender equality. Learn more about our progress against our commitments in our Sustainability Report. Also, take a moment to watch a couple short videos from a few of the talented women at Stantec: Baukje Nauta and Lianne Verweij in the Netherlands talk about how the Stantec teams in Delft and Arnhem work together to help our clients, and Gaye Devrim Sener in Turkey shares her passion for environmental engineering and sustainable energy.