Local program introduces young girls to STEM careers

A local program is giving young girls an opportunity to explore everything STEM education and careers have to offer.

Gilbert, Ariz. - For more than a decade, Maricopa County community colleges have partnered with Intel to teach girls about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- otherwise known as STEM. 

Gabriella Gonzalez, a first generation Mexican-American, grew up in a household with "tradition." "Diseña tu futuro," ('design your future') was put together to eliminate those taboos we grow up with because of our culture. 

"If we look at statistics among college graduates, we will find that only 18 percent of all engineers are women," Gonzalez said. "So when we partnered with Maricopa community colleges to put together this event, we targeted those girls, that never have been told they're going to college." 

The event puts around 500 young girls grades K-12 through seminars and classes based on STEM education. These girls come into the event not knowing what to expect and leave with an open mind as to where they are headed. 

"My sister took this class when she was in eighth grade, and thought I could benefit from it by attending," Alexis Peterson, a student that participated in the course, said. "Girls can do anything, don't ever let any boy tell you they can only do it because they're bigger and stronger, because girls can do it all." 

Intel partnered up with Chandler-Gilbert Community College to put this event together 12 years ago.

A former participant, Erika Diaz, came back to speak about how this event and engineering has changed her life. 

"All we need is a college that is willing to participate and we can definitely get an event going in any part of town," Gonzalez said. "We like to target those that are not looking to fall under the "traditional latina careers." 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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