Engaging and Educating Women in STEM

Ten female DeMatteis students recently spent a week touring top Long Island tech firms to see first-hand how innovative women have advanced in computer science and engineering fields.

The program, part of the school’s Women’s
Summer Program in Computing/Engineering (W-SPiCE) initiative, is designed
to help engage and educate highly motivated students in a supportive, inclusive
environment and to develop leadership and communication skills necessary to
enter the workforce with confidence.

Over the course of four days in January, W-SPiCE students visited eight companies: GSE Dynamics, Cameron Engineering and Associates, Carter, DeLuca & Farrell LLP, National Grid, Syska Hennessy Group, Structure Tone, Walden Associates, and Dealertrack – Cox Automotive.  Philip Coniglio, director of the DeMatteis School Co-op Program, organized and accompanied the students on the tours.

“Speaking to female engineers in an informal session was
very engaging,” said bioengineering major Shannya Niveyro ’22.   “It was great to hear about their journeys
and what led them to their current career paths. Even at some of the smaller
firms, it was interesting to see how involved new female hires were in engineering
projects, despite being at the beginning of their careers. I was very inspired to
see the different possible career paths available with an engineering degree.”

Participating companies represented various fields, from
construction management, manufacturing, environmental engineering, to
automotive, power and energy and patent law. 
During each visit, students attended presentations about how to prepare for
a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) engaged in one-on-one
conversations with engineers and were given behind-the-scenes, personalized
tours of plants and facilities.

“I wasn’t really aware of how multiple types of engineers
are needed in one company until we met a chemical engineer at National Grid,” said
bioengineering major Jayda Lewis ’23.  “I
always knew what the fields of engineering were, but I didn’t know exactly what
each field did. The information we got from the workers during each visit was
very helpful.”

The company tours serve as an introduction to the W-SPiCE
program.  The core of the program is
offered over the summer, when students spend four weeks with faculty members in
five distinct fields, immersed in study, lab activities and design-related
projects relevant to the high-tech companies they visit.

“It was exciting to be able to step into a workshop and see
the parts of the planes and submarines being built,” said bioengineering major Gianna
Rinaldi ’23.  “And, the stories female
engineers told us about how they came to find themselves in the engineering
field were very interesting and inspiring.”

W-SPiCE is available to all DeMatteis students who demonstrate
strong academic credentials in the first-year curriculum and who have a
demonstrated interest in learning and working in an inclusive, supportive
environment that enables women, who are currently underrepresented in STEM-related
 fields, to succeed. 

For more information or to learn how to apply, visit W-SPiCE.

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Christine Crosfield

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