Repairer Driven News
« Back « PREV Article  |  NEXT Article »

Toyota, Girl Scouts partner to drum up female interest in STEM careers

By on
Share This:

Toyota Connected North America (TCNA) and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) have teamed up to sponsor the “E for Engineering” patch to inspire support and preparation for female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career paths.

“Together with Toyota Connected, we are on a mission to make Northeast Texas the best place to be a girl and address the shortage of female voices in STEM fields,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of GSNETX, in a news release. “Early exposure to STEM is crucial for developing the skills and confidence our Girl Scouts need to be at the forefront of a more diverse, empowered workforce.” 

Coinciding with Women’s History Month, the partnership underscores a shared dedication to empowering young women in STEM so they can excel in these critical, fast-growing sectors, the release says. Toyota has also recognized four of its female employees in commemoration of Women’s History Month. Their stories are available here

An “E for Engineering” patch is earned by learning about software engineering through practical hands-on learning, design thinking, and skill-building.

“As a tech company that values diversity within our own culture, Toyota Connected recognizes the importance of encouraging young women to explore technology, and that starts with engaging girls of all backgrounds in STEM programming at an early age,” said TCNA Chief People Officer Jennifer Brown, in the release. “Toyota Connected is proud to support the ‘E for Engineering’ patch with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas to help cultivate tomorrow’s female leaders in engineering, technology, and software.”  

Toyota Connected is a hub of engineering innovation with more than 200 dedicated software engineers, data scientists, and software designers ready to serve as mentors, role models, and advisors, TCNA said. TCNA also hosts a “Women in Technology” group, whose mission is to provide leadership opportunities, mentorship, professional development, and networking activities for its members.  

GSNETX serves girls and adult volunteers in 32 Texas counties. To change the workforce pipeline in STEM and ‘meet the urgent need for female voices and leadership in the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy,” GSNETX opened its STEM Center of Excellence in 2018.

Through its sponsorship with GSNETX, TCNA says it provides valuable volunteer touchpoints and unparalleled access to seasoned engineering professionals. TCNA plans to lead workshops using cutting-edge technology and participate in GSNETX networking and engineering-related events throughout the year to demonstrate “the vast potential within the engineering field.”

Despite making up more than half of all college graduates, women comprise only 16.7% of engineering and architecture professionals, according to data gathered by the Society of Women Engineers

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), a network of organizations that aim to inform and encourage girls to pursue STEM, girls/young women and boys/young men don’t significantly differ in their math and science abilities. However, their interests, confidence, and sense of belonging do differ, NGCP said in a report released earlier this month.

In the workforce, the differences are even more drastic.

The “E for Engineering” patch plays a key role in the GSNETX STEM Seal of Approval, which encourages Girl Scouts to engage in STEM-focused activities, attend fairs, or participate in workshops by GSNETX and its partners.

Activities Girl Scouts choose from to earn the patch include:

    • Exploring aeronautical/aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering careers;
    • Comparing a car from today to cars from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s by describing how they differ. What changes were made to make using them easier?
    • Like a biomedical engineer, design a product that can help the human body perform a normal function, like grabbing a cup;
    • Use chemistry, physics, and math to make your own cosmetic/beauty products;
    • Redesign and repurpose trash to help sustain and improve the natural environment;
    • Design a model community you would want to live in with bridges, dams, and parks;
    • Like a mechanical engineer, design a tool to help you complete a chore; and
    • Interview a professional engineer.

Last year, history was made during the SkillsUSA National Championships with all-female high school winners in the Automotive Refinishing Technology category.

The career competition brings some of the most highly skilled career and technical education students in high school and college from all across the U.S. to compete. Held last week in Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 6,100 participants competed in 110 trade, technical, and leadership fields.

Winning gold was Lily Williams, of Arkansas followed by Aleah Sauder, of Illinois who brought home silver, and Madysen Smith, of Pennsylvania who earned bronze.

Williams will compete in the 2024 WorldSkills Competition representing the U.S. team in car painting. It will be held in France in September.

During a November Collision Industry Conference (CIC) panel discussion about a collision repair certificate and apprenticeship program, Amber Alley, who is the general manager of Barsotti’s Body and Fender in California, said it can help to hire more female technicians.

“The industry is doing a really good job of isolating 50% of the population just with general culture,” she said. “It [Collision Engineering Program] gives young ladies that do want to enter in the industry a very safe way to do that.”

Tiffany Silva, owner of Accurate Auto Body in California, added, “We have been in a male-dominated industry, our whole careers and it is so exciting, not only to have the students, but then to have female students… I have a majority female workforce. I believe I have eight females and I have 10 people that are under the age of 25 working in our facility. The breath of fresh air that the youth is bringing, that the female staff is bringing, I want to see this continue.”


Featured image: A Girl Scout holds a Toyota Connected North America/Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas “E for Engineering” patch. (Credit: TCNA/GSNETX)

Girls Scouts hold Toyota Connected North America/Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas “E for Engineering” patches. (Credit: TCNA/GSNETX)

(From left) Automotive Refinishing Technology Technical Committee Co-Chair Jessica Neri, Lily Williams, Aleah Sauder, and Madysen Smith. (Provided by Jessica Neri)

“State of Girls and Women in STEM” graphics provided by the National Girls Collaborative Project.

Share This: