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Getting Girls Interested in STEM Careers

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - Eight St. Louis area engineering companies joined forces with a Catholic preparatory high school this week to get more women interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

President of Cor Jeus Academy, Sister Barbara Thomas, said nearly three dozen girls took part in the STEM corporate program which allowed them to job shadow women in industries like Ameren, Watlow and Barry-Wehmille Companies, Inc.

“We wanted to really give them that chance to see the real world,” Thomas said. “What do these people do all day long, what are the jobs they have, and what are the problems that they solve.”

A 2012 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee showed that only 14 percent of the engineering workforce is made up of women.

Thomas said she hopes that will change with programs like this. Adding, “there are very high achieving young ladies here.”

Maureen Borkowski, President and CEO of Ameren Transmission Co., said she hopes this program is successful.

“It’s actually very disappointing that we still don’t seem to be attracting women to the engineer curriculum like we are other sciences,” she said.

Borkowski believes its because young women are still putting barriers on themselves.

“How many girls are led to the medical fields and the many different aspects of medicine,” Thomas said. “This is a whole ‘nother angle of using their science and math skills that I’m not sure they thought of before.”

The program will offer introductory courses, scholarships, job shadowing, and summer internships.

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