@KCSTAR #Engineering challenges: Keep female graduates, stoke interest among girls
By KEVIN COLLISON
The Kansas City Star
Thirty years after the first wave of women began pursuing engineering careers it’s still mostly a man’s world — despite an earnest effort to encourage girls to pursue a profession with good opportunities.
Take Taya Upkes, who graduated summa cum laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She had nine job offers before receiving her diploma and accepted an offer from Cummins to work at its plant in suburban Minneapolis.
The KC STEM Alliance summer camp looks to interest children like Destnee Walton (left), 12; Martayllia Copes, 10; and Jordan Miller, 11, all of Kansas City, in engineering.
Karen Stelling, vice president of the aviation and facilities practice at Burns & McDonnell, now tries to interest others in the field. “We need to show girls how engineering helps people,” she said.
Gretchen Ivy, senior project manager at HNTB, had several uncles who were engineers. They served as her role models growing up. “I liked the work they did,” said the 1998 University of Missouri-Columbia civil engineering graduate.
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