Spotlight: Inspiring future female pilots with PreFlight!

This summer, High-Tech High Heels proudly sponsored PreFlight camp as one of our 2019 grantees to show young girls the sky is the limit when it comes to what they can achieve, including becoming a pilot.

Out of over 580,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificated pilots in the United States only 6.7 percent of them are women, and those numbers are not increasing. In fact, when compared to figures in 2010, the total number of female pilots has decreased nationally by 7.2 percent.

To help prepare girls to takeoff, High-Tech High Heels funded PreFlight Camp – a five-day aviation camp for preteen girls at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in July.

They use aviation to transform girls’ beliefs about gender roles, increase their self-esteem and inspire them to become pilots. In the same way that a pilot must first perform a “preflight” before they can takeoff in their airplane, the camp is a young girls “preflight” into aviation.

Camp activities ranged from hands-on experiments and teambuilding exercises to piloting a simulator and flying an airplane with female flight instructors.  The lessons featured aerodynamics, airplane components, navigation, weather, airplane communications, and weight and balance. 

Campers were able to tour CFAN, a manufacturing facility that makes composite fan blades for GE engines on the Boeing 747, 777, and 787.  Another highlight included a look at WWII airplanes at the Commemorative Air Force Hangar and receiving a presentation on the Women Air Force Service Pilots.

Post camp results:

  • 58% increase in campers that reported wanting to be a pilot as a result of attending PreFlight Aviation Camp, compared to their answers on pre-camp surveys. 
  • 100% of campers agreed that the airplane flight helped them to believe that becoming a pilot is possible.
  • 100% of campers also agreed that having camp counselors who are pilots helped them to believe that becoming a pilot is possible.
  • 100% of campers agreed that attended PreFlight empowered them to achieve their goals.
  • 91% of campers agreed that attending PreFlight helped to build their self-esteem (2 campers answered ‘neutral’)

What did the campers think? 

  • “Preflight is really an engaging camp. I’d learned a lot about basic things in aviation and it gave me a new perspective about aviation. My favorite is when I got to fly and control the plane a bit. It really encouraged me as a woman to do my best in the STEM industry. And everyone is really nice & friendly.” – Rocelyn, 14
  • “Preflight was great. There were many excellent classes and some great tours like at CFAN and the day at the airport, especially flying the Cessna 172 Skyhawk… I would definitely recommend the camp to other girls” – Francesca, 15.
  • “Preflight was amazing! It exceeded all of my expectations and I did not want to leave this educational atmosphere of encouraging and inspirational counselors and leaders!” – Selena, 13
  • “This is the right camp if you want to get your brain thinking…I loved going up in the airplane and getting to fly it.”-Sophia, 12

Donate to High-Tech High Heels:

If you are interested in supporting High-Tech High Heels with funding for impactful programs such as PreFlight and want to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue college-level degrees in STEM, please consider a recurring or one-time donation here.

After-School All Stars building brighter futures through STEM – Destiny’s story

The first official day of summer is quickly approaching, and as the weather grows warmer and school draws to a close, many of the grantees from our most recent grant cycle are reflecting on recent spring programming and gearing up for summer STEM-based opportunities for young girls in our community.

Earlier this year, High-Tech High Heels granted $20,000 towards the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) North Texas #femSTEM Program to cover 2019 spring, summer and fall programming for middle school girls in Dallas County. 89 girls attended this spring, with 80-100 expected between summer and fall programming.

ASAS vision is for all of its All-Stars to be safe and healthy, to graduate high school and go to college, to find careers they love and then give back to their communities. ASAS’ partnership with High-Tech High Heels gives young girls in our community the opportunity to build interest in STEM, explore STEM careers and learn skills that will give them the tools needed to be successful in high school and beyond. For Destiny, a 7th grader at Hector P Garcia Middle School, ASAS offers her a safe place to grow in confidence, build relationships with caring adult mentors and just be a kid.

Read on for Destiny’s story and hear how HTHH’s support and partnership with ASAS build brighter futures for All-Star students.

Meet Destiny, a #femSTEM All-Star!

 “My name is Destiny and I am in 7th grade at Hector P Garcia Middle School. I joined All-Stars last year in November when I was in the 6th grade. Before I started coming to All-Stars, I was really shy at school and I wasn’t doing good in my classes. I didn’t let people see the real me. I also used to be in the streets, and for real I used to hang out with the wrong crowd. All-Stars has changed everything. 

I don’t hang out in the streets anymore after-school. Now I get to do really fun things at ASAS. Some of my favorite clubs are DJ Music Production, Fashion Design, and #femSTEM. Right now in #femSTEM we’re building boats out of paper plates and aluminum foil. At the end of year showcase we’re going to test them out, and see whose boat can hold the most pennies without sinking. I like #femSTEM a lot because I think it’s sometimes easier for me to try new things when it’s just girls around. Ms. Vonna, our #femSTEM teacher, makes it fun and she tries to help us learn the same things we’re learning at school. Earlier this year my grade had a big science lab project during the school day. Ms. Vonna talked to our science teachers and had the #femSTEM club do a project afterschool that used many of the same science words that were in the lab. It made it easier for me to understand at school!

The clubs are fun, but All-Stars is more than that. ASAS has taught me how to be a better person. My favorite memory is when we went on a volunteer field trip to help at a homeless shelter. We gave food to homeless people that didn’t have money. It made me feel good because I made a difference. Now every time my family doesn’t finish our food at home we give the extra to homeless by the freeway. The field trip made me realize how many people are less fortunate than me. Some people give back because it makes them feel good, but I do it because I like helping people. I used to be greedy and a bad person and I thought everyone in the world deserved what they got. All-Stars taught me how to see other people and my community differently. I understand that everyone has hard times and has problems.

 I’m so thankful that All-Stars came into my life last year. I know if I wasn’t here after-school I would be doing things I shouldn’t out in the neighborhood. All-Stars has taught me to be a better person, try harder in school, and given me opportunities to learn new things. 

ASAS really is everything to me. I’ve grown tremendously through All-Stars. My grades are up, and I’ve come out of my shell a lot since last year. Mrs. T, our Site Coordinator, encouraged me to be myself and do things I thought I couldn’t do. All the staff puts up with us every day and we’re a lot of work! I’m grateful the staff hasn’t given up on us. I’m so glad I have All-Stars.”

Donate to High-Tech High Heels

If you are interested in supporting High-Tech High Heels with funding impactful programs that inspire the next generation of girls to select a college-level degree program in STEM, consider a recurring or one-time donation here.

Spotlight: Big milestone – HTHH has granted over 1 million dollars

High-Tech High Heels was founded in 2001 by a group of women with a shared vision of closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Eighteen years ago, through their own educational experiences, they knew that closing the gender gap in STEM would require increasing the number of girls graduating from high school and entering a college-level degree program in STEM.  These women pooled their resources to create a Donor Advised Fund so they could grant to programs to support this vision and mission.   However, in 2001, there were no programs to support these objectives.  Not to be deterred, these amazing philanthropreneurs developed their own programs to educate and inspire high school girls to succeed in STEM. 

Thank you to our HTHH founders: Susan Sue Alberti, Cindy Allen, Karla Barber, Shaunna Black, Beth Bull, Lisa Byrd, Mary McDermott Cook, Wendy Engibous, Julie England, Marla Finco, Wanda Gass, Cynthia Grimm, Mary Helmick, Diana Johnson Hightower, Ember Bennett Hogan, Lisa Knipe, Melendy Lovett, Elisabeth Marley, Gray Mayes, Margaret McDermott, Elizabeth Moyer, Mary Ann Murphy, Marcia Page, Carol Primdahl, Tegwin Pulley, Tammy Richards, Jane Schoen, Judy Shaw, Linda Smittle, Delena Spencer, Mary Templeton, Terri West.

Nearly two decades later, the work of HTHH continues with the same passion and commitment to those founding objectives.  HTHH has just achieved a major milestone by funding our one millionth dollar toward programs that close the gender gap in STEM fields.

HTHH still funds the core, proven programs created by its Founders for high school girls.   And now, HTHH also funds new and innovative programs to improve STEM education, inspire and mentor the next generation, and provide hands-on learning opportunities for girls across the entire K-12 STEM academic pipeline.  

Help us continue to fund impactful programs targeted at closing the gender gap in STEM by making a donation todayThanks a million!

Spotlight: Inspirational women making history at HTHH

High-Tech High Heels would like to take a moment to highlight
some of our very own {S}HEROES. We are fortunate to be
surrounded by so many wonder women making history at
HTHH, and we picked three of them with unbelievable stories
that are sure to inspire you to go out and make history, too!

WANDA GASS

SHE MADE HISTORY

Not only is Wanda Gass one of High-Tech High Heels’ revered founders, but she is also the co-inventor of the initial Texas Instruments Digital Signal Processing product.  This became TI’s digital flagship product in the 1990s & 2000s and drove the conversion from analog to digital for media and communications.  Ms. Gass is a trailblazer for women in STEM and made history in 1999 when she and Duy-Loan Lee were the first women promoted to TI Fellows. In 2007, she was elevated to IEEE Fellow for her contributions in VLSI signal processing
architectures and circuits. To pave the way for girls of generations to come, Gass founded Design Connect Create in 2014 to deliver Physics Camps programming to help young women be successful in STEM classes.

 

KACIE PHILLIPS

SHE IS MAKING HISTORY

Kacie is one of the most recently elected High-Tech High Heels Texas board members, following years volunteering on the HTHH communications and Friendraiser committees.  After graduating from Texas Tech and interning at Southwest Airlines, Kacie began her career at Texas Instruments as a business analyst. Since 2015, Kacie has worked in IT functions for Enterprise Applications, Demand Creation, and Supply Chain.  She also serves as President of the TI New Employee Initiative and donates numerous hours each week to leading her peers to foster a community of new TI employees. Even though Kacie has just recently begun her career, she is already making a mark and is inspiring people around her, both women and men,
through her professionalism and dedication.

 

SANDRA VILLAGRANA

SHE WILL MAKE HISTORY

Sandra attended a High-Tech High Heels funded Design Connect Create Physics camp a few summers ago (if you think this sounds familiar, you’re right! This is Wanda Gass’
organization referenced above.)
Sandra has worked extremely hard in her STEM courses, and in May 2019, she will make history by being the first in her family to EVER graduate from high school. But that’s
not even the best part!! Sandra was recently accepted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and will be the first in her family to attend college.

Interested IN HELPING High-Tech High Heels empower more women?
CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY

We are expanding our impact across America

As the New Year begins, High-Tech High Heels is more committed than ever to closing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Over the past 18 years, HTHH has funded programs that make a meaningful difference in the lives of middle and high school girls in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The teenage years are critical for girls, as 4 in 5 STEM college students make their degree decisions in high school or earlier, and 12-17 year old girls are continuing to opt out of the STEM academic pipeline every day.

“As we reflect on our efforts over nearly 2 decades, we are encouraged by our progress,” shares Laura Steffek, High-Tech High Heels President. HTHH grants have resulted in more than 1,000 girls attending AP Physics Camps, 800 STEM educators attending Gender Equity Training, and 1,000 school counselors attending workshops on STEM careers in North Texas.

The gender gap in STEM careers is not just a Dallas issue; it’s a national issue. In a study of 10 major metropolitan areas across the country, it was found that there were no other organizations like High-Tech High Heels that fund diverse, effective programs that encourage and prepare young women to excel in STEM.  “In order to maintain our focus on growing our impact in the cities in which we currently operate while also expanding across America, we created a new structure that establishes the national organization, High-Tech High Heels, and introduces regional HTHH chapters as their own entities,” Robin Bray, Texas Chapter President, announces.

The new national High-Tech High Heels, led by President Laura Steffek, will be primarily responsible for overseeing the non-profit organization as a whole. The national team will lead expansion efforts and explore potential cities for chapters, conduct annual audits, govern regional chapters, and maintain the High-Tech High Heels brand. With your support, the regional chapters, HTHH-Texas, led by President Robin Bray, and HTHH-Silicon Valley, led by President Maria Olsen, will continue to fund diverse, effective programs that encourage and prepare young women to excel in STEM.

High-Tech High Heels established a long-term goal two years ago to expand operations to 5 cities by 2026. Since then, they launched a Silicon Valley chapter in 2017 and will choose the next site in 2019.

While the goals are growing and structure is changing at High-Tech High Heels, its mission remains the same: to increase the number of girls who graduate high school prepared to pursue STEM degrees.  High-Tech High Heels is operated entirely by volunteers and donors who believe in this mission, and in order to support their expansion, HTHH has elected 41 dedicated board members and numerous volunteers in Texas and the Silicon Valley. These board members and volunteers range from senior executives at Fortune 100 companies to new college graduates and all of them use their gifts and talents to inspire young girls. “We are incredibly thankful for all of our committed volunteers and donors,” Robin Bray says. “Our work is only possible with their support.”

If you are interested in donating to High-Tech High Heels, explore donation options here and see what your donation can provide for young girls in your community.

If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in volunteering for High-Tech High Heels, fill out a quick volunteer form and a HTHH representative will contact you and share different options about how you can join the team. “I vividly remember the first female engineer I met,” shares Laura Steffek. “There was so much power in meeting someone who looked like me who was an engineer. It made me realize I could become one, too. So many people helped me along the way. Creating opportunities for girls to see themselves as engineers is my way of giving back.” Laura’s experience is much like the experiences of teenage girls who meet High-Tech High Heels volunteers who are a part of the Speakers Bureau, one of the many ways to volunteer for HTHH.

And last but not least…

Energized and encouraged by its expansion and organizational changes, High-Tech High Heels refreshed it’s brand with a new logo and look! Head over to hightechhighheels.org now and check it out.

Spotlight: Eureka! building confidence and skills in STEM – Grace’s story

Grace – Eureka! program participant

High-Tech High Heels currently funds Eureka!, a STEM-based program through Girls Inc. Dallas. Eureka! is an intensive, five-year STEM-based program that builds girls’ confidence and skills through hands-on opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. Utilizing a “whole girl” approach, the program also includes sports and physical fitness, personal development, and college and career readiness. In addition to the summer component, during the school year there are monthly events, activities and field trips. Find more information here.

We interviewed Grace, a junior in high school that has participated in the program for four years. Girls Inc. Dallas has provided a safe place for Grace to go after school since she was eight years old.

Her mother enrolled her in the STEM-based program Eureka! prior to 8th grade. Grace shared that she a hard time with math at the time, but was strong in science. Through the years, she feels the program has helped her with both. “I now feel confident that I’ll get better over time. The best thing I’ve learned was about the periodic table of elements during my first year. It truly helped me pass my chemistry exam in school!” she said. Her first experience with the program was a STEM camp at Richland College, where it has stuck with her that the professors treated them like college students.

The program includes sports and physical fitness, personal development, and college and career readiness. When asked about her favorite aspect, Grace shared: “I like the personal development. Each year, we mature, so the way we do and view things are different. It challenges me and gives me new insights on things and ideas I’d never think of.”

Grace has had many hands-on experiences with STEM throughout her four years in the program. She reflected on a few of the most memorable: “We’ve flown rocket ships, and then there’s my personal favorite: the cooking-themed science experiments! We’ve made dough (YES, COOKING DOUGH!), peanut butter, marshmallow spread, and some neat candy!”

Going into the third year of the program, she did not know what she wanted to do as a career. During the summer, she had an internship with Pioneer Oil Company, where she was mentored in Human Resourcing and event planning. “Easy to say I fell in love, just with being able to go to meetings, plan events, and communicate,” she shared. This past summer, Grace participated in SAT prep and had the opportunity to hear from many inspiring women: “Eureka! is giving me resources, and being able to have guests talk to us lets me see the other world of business and communications.” When asked about the future, Grace noted: “When I go to college, I want to study communications, while pursuing a career in Human Resources.”

Outside of school and Girls Inc. programs, Grace gives back to the community through volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. She also enjoys praise dance at church and school and shopping with her friends.Grace left with us these inspirational words about what she has learned being a part of Eureka!: “STEM really is doable! It made me feel more confident in school, and STEM in general.”

We wish Grace the best of luck in her final year of Eureka! and beyond.

 

Spotlight: SMARTgirls featuring some brilliant women from HTHH

Excitement for STEM can spark anywhere, at any time; most often it’s the school classroom where girls are first introduced- and summer break is no exception! On a sunny Friday in June, High Tech High Heels members helped bring the classroom to life by attending the SMARTgirls Xtreme STEM Camp at Wylie High School. There, they put on a lively panel discussion about Women in Technology with the 7th, 8th and 9th grade girls. Featuring some of High Tech High Heels brightest members, Jeannette Bennett, Lynn Mortensen, Vicky Rupp, Molly Sing and Hasini Sundaresan, the campers learned each woman’s personal journey to a career in technology. Each woman answered great questions about what it’s like to be an engineer, shared how the professionals got to their current positions, and expressed what they love about engineering and technology.

High Tech High Heels has been a passionate sponsor of SMARTgirls, an organization focused on getting girls interested in, and staying interested in, science and math.  They use hands-on STEM activities and guest speakers from an array of STEM professions to engage and encourage girls to peak their interest. Beyond peaking interest, SMARTgirls hopes to enable girls with the resources to become engage confidently in high level math and science courses throughout high school and college. SMARTgirls offers after school activities at all Wylie ISD intermediate schools, Saturday clubs for junior highs, and summer camps on a variety of STEM topics.

 

 

Spotlight: HTHH supports all-girls team at World FIRST Robotics competition

High Tech High Heels had the exciting opportunity to sponsor the Hockabots from The Hockaday School at the World FIRST Robotics competition in Houston, held April 18-21, 2018. The team had the opportunity to compete at the World level after advancing from the regional competition.

See highlights below from the Robotics coach, Laura Baker:

“The girls performed very well. They were in the top 16 teams out of 109 teams in five of the nine awards categories. They finished 43rd in the robot game with their highest score of the year. Their goal was to finish in the top 50 teams in the game and they did! The judges and referees commented on their poise, intelligence, and calm demeanor under pressure. The judges also liked their innovative attachments. These attachments included a track that slid back and forth to complete four missions in under 30 seconds. They also created a cart that slid off of the robot and then carried a piece across the board. The booth was also a big hit. They had a white board and Polaroid camera. Teams from all over the world took pictures and posted them on the board with little messages and pictures. They had disco music playing – it was very festive!”

She went on to state that the group is expecting 10-20 returning and new members to join for the next year, and are also planning STEM programs and activities involving multiple ages and grade levels. Baker also mentioned that they expect to have three to five teams compete at next year’s competition, as well.

This team and competition, which teaches girls engineering skills and programming, exemplifies High Tech High Heels mission to engage in STEM events and enable young girls to take on careers in the industry.

Find out how you can help HTHH support girls’ teams in the future in fun STEM events like this!

Spotlight: Persistence Development Foundation inspiring girls with CodeSLAM

This month’s spotlight highlights one of our recent grant recipients, Persistence Development Foundation.  Persistence Development Foundation focuses on “improving lives of individuals in underserved communities (geographic and/or economic) in the north Texas region by closing the digital divide and addressing digital literacy issues through computer coding instruction and certification training.”

High Tech High Heels is proud to support the foundation’s out-of-school program, CodeSLAM, which “introduces students to basic web development, app development and game creation.” These programs will further help to expose girls in north Texas to STEM careers and the industry by getting them engaged in coding programs. We talked to Harold Strong, from the foundation to discuss the importance and impact of these coding programs.

We are looking forward to help in making CodeSLAM available and accessible to all girls in north Texas!

Q: How was Persistence Development Foundation started? What inspired the foundation’s mission?

The motivation for Persistence Development Foundation is to assist under resourced families to become digitally engaged and become [part] of the growing digital community.   As the Dallas Smart City initiative is to “leverage technology in becoming an inclusive, connected and efficient city focused on improving the quality of life of our citizens”, PDF’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals in underserved communities (geographic and/or economic) in the north Texas region by closing the digital divide and addressing digital literacy issues through computer coding instruction and certification training.

Q: What drove the need for CodeSLAM programs in north Texas?

The CodeSLAM program began as a tool to assist middle school students to actively participate and engage at the Dallas Park & Recreation Teen Tech Center makerspace without being taught or instructed on how to use the technology in the space.  The basic CodeSLAM program offers three coding experiences including (1) creating a website, (2) creating an app and (3) creating a game in Android and SWIFT environments. This program serves as a great introduction to computer coding and provides a very fast, efficient foundation for future coding experiences.  For the Teen Tech Center, the students were provided coding hints to assist in successfully exploring the fun and power of creating games, social media sites and applications through the use of the provided computing equipment in the center.  As a result, traffic to the Teen Tech Center grew as more students (and neighboring Recreation Centers) added coding as a part of their Rec Center offerings. 

With the success of the initial program, CodeStream Studios refined the program to support [and] accommodate a broader age range as well as broader computer coding skill level.  Over the past school year, we have successfully hosted more than 10 CodeSLAMs with Uplift Education, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas combined.  While the program focuses on social media, app development and game creation, the program has been adjusted to support data from multiple environments. So, at the Dallas Zoo the CodeSLAM program will feature an option of game development, app creation or social media development featuring animals that influence innovation.

With funding from High Tech High Heels, PDF and CodeStream Studios partnered with Frontiers of Flight for a Spring Break ’18 program to support the Young Women’s STEM Leadership Initiative with a vision to increase female students’ interest in STEM-related careers. More than 45 girls from Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Arnold (GPISD) and Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs (DISD) participated in the program.  It should be noted that both schools have a high percentage of under-resourced girls. We believe that by providing these students opportunities to view real-world applications of STEM, it will encourage them to push past any boundaries they may encounter as they plan for their future.

The CodeSLAM program was used with MIT App Inventor to create games featuring Dorothy Vaughan and the women who devote their careers to space exploration.

Q: What is the ultimate impact of these programs?

PDF and CodeStream Studios partnered with Frontiers of Flight for a Spring Break ’18 program to support the Young Women’s STEM Leadership Initiative with a vision to increase female students’ interest in STEM-related careers. More than 45 girls from Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Arnold (GPISD) and Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs (DISD) participated in the program.  It should be noted that both schools have a high percentage of under-resourced girls. We believe that by providing these students opportunities to view real-world applications of STEM, it encouraged them to push past their boundaries as they plan for their future.

At Jubilee Park Community Center, CodeStream Studios provided an out-of-school coding program during the 2017-18 school year where approximately 25 girls participated in a web development program that used HTML/ CSS and JavaScript to a build a website page for a business. The “graduation” exercise for this coding program was for the participants to present the website that they developed and to walk the audience through their coding technique.  We feel this program provided the students exposure to coding as well as confidence to present to an audience.  But most of all it was fun! 

Spotlight: Laura Steffek, making a difference in STEM

As March celebrates International Women’s Day as well as Women’s History Month, we want to spotlight a woman who is making a difference! We sat down with Laura Steffek, a High-Tech High Heels member and director of new product development for Texas Instruments’ Sensing business, to chat about how she is working to encourage more girls to pursue careers in STEM professions.

HTHH: How did you become involved in HTHH?

I’ve always been passionate about encouraging girls to choose STEM careers. Before moving to Dallas, I was involved in speaking to school groups and Girl Scout troops about STEM. When my family and I moved to Dallas ten years ago, I looked for new ways to continue that involvement, and when I learned about HTHH I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it! I’ve been a HTHH volunteer since 2008 and a board member since 2011.

HTHH: What do you believe is HTHH’s greatest impact?

A: One the programs we have funded is gender equity training for high school math and science teachers. When this program was created, our expectation was that teachers would become more effective at teaching girls. What surprised us is that after teachers have gone through this training, the AP scores go up not only for the girls, but also for the boys! All students benefit when teachers have this training.

HTHH: What is one thing you want people to know about HTHH?

A: We are an all-volunteer organization. We are grateful for the support of our fantastic volunteers and for our generous donors.

HTHH: Can you share a memory or story about HTHH that stands out to you?

A: My favorite story is about a young woman named Maria, who participated in the first Physics Camp. She spoke at a HTHH event a few years ago, and she told us her story. She had a large, extended family in Dallas, and none of them attended college. Her teacher encouraged her to attend Physics Camp, so she did. Every day when she left home to go to camp, her mother asked her, “Why are you doing this? Your cousins don’t do this.” Maria told us that without the encouragement of her high school teacher and the physics camp instructors, she never would have gone on to college. But she did go to college, and she graduated with a degree in electrical engineering technology and received a job in a lab in Dallas. The programs that HTHH funds have the power to change lives.

HTHH: What are the greatest obstacles you have seen women face in STEM?

A: When I was a brand-new electrical engineer back in the late 80s, I felt that I had to prove myself twice, once because I was a new engineer, and once because I am a woman. Many people seemed skeptical that a woman could be a good engineer. There’s been progress made, but still women earn less than 20% of the engineering degrees awarded in this country.

My father is a retired engineer, and he was my best source of encouragement when I decided I wanted to become an engineer. For the first ten years of my career, every other female engineer I met told me her father also was an engineer. I think that speaks volumes about how difficult it can be for a woman to choose a STEM career. My hope for HTHH is that our programs provide the support and encouragement that young girls need today, so they can be successful in STEM even if they don’t have a parent who works in STEM.

HTHH: What makes you passionate about STEM?

A: I love solving problems and learning new things, and that’s what engineers get to do all the time.

HTHH: What advice would you share with girls as they learn about STEM?

A: Have fun! Be curious. Experiment. Try new things, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Making mistakes, and trying again until you find a solution, is a great way to learn.