2018 Women in Engineering Empowerment Essay – Liliana Delmonico

Currently, society is preoccupied promoting social justice movements for people of different colors, sexualities, and ideologies. While it may seem like the numerous marches, protests, and rallies are not making any legal change, these movements have been successful in making these issues more apparent in everyday culture and forcing the general population to submit to accepting them as the norm. But one of the issues that is not addressed with great enthusiasm is the lack of women in STEM careers. There is a dire need for encouragement among young women in order to improve representation of women in STEM careers.

Primarily, curiosity in STEM is not encouraged in young girls. Instead, they have a sense of fear and impossibility toward them. Identifiable role models and mentors can play a game changing role in increasing the representation in STEM careers. As a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), I witness every day the power of women sharing their stories of their journeys through their careers. I have had a number of stellar mentors as well, who inspire me every day to work hard and achieve my goals. I have been able to act as one of these female role models for the young women in my community. At a Girl Scout event we hosted, a middle school girl asked if she could take a photo with me, as she wanted to be featured with a “real engineer.” This was both flattering and concerning for me, as it seemed like I was one of the only people this girl had to look up to if she wanted to be an engineer one day. This moment, while small, inspired me to be an encouragement to all young girls who wished to pursue science and technology careers. This past week, I served as a camp counselor where I led a group of high school girls through the scientific process and taught them how to conduct scientific research. This again was a thrilling experience for me to share my love for STEM and reach out to a group who may otherwise not have considered themselves as scientists. The position of a mentor and role model is irreplaceable, especially for young women. Installing and encouraging such programs can and will help young women understand that they have no limits to what they can achieve.

As I proceed through my educational experience, I meet more and more women, which is a telltale sign for me. Yet, there is still so much more that needs to be considered. The most significant is that the general public must know about this issue. While numerous marches and protests do not need to necessarily form, there is a need for this to become common knowledge. Women in such fields should not be a rarity. But rather, it should be common and a phenomenon that shapes the future of the STEM world.