(L-R) Ninth grader Eleanor Cheers of Ladue and senior Kaila Marshall of Edwardsville work together on one of the activities.EDWARDSVILLE Girls can do anything, engineering included. That was the theme of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday, Feb. 25. Over 130 local middle and high school girls attended the 11th annual event at SIUE’s School of Engineering (SOE) sponsored by the SIUE Chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

“Women in engineering is uncommon,” said Kaitlyn Colligan, junior industrial engineering major and president of the SWE. “We want to introduce girls to engineering and have it become the norm. Engineering plays a big role in society, and we want the younger generations to know that and see the impact they can have through engineering.”

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SIUE students and faculty lead various activities for the girls, featuring the engineering disciplines of mechanical, electrical, computer science, civil and industrial.

“Engineering is a field that has historically been dominated by men,” said Cem Karacal, PhD, professor and dean of the SOE. “Times are changing. It is time for more girls and women to take their place in this exciting field. The new frontiers in engineering will be at the crossroads of multiple disciplines. The fresh perspective of women engineers will provide amazing opportunities for them to shape future technologies and make a significant impact on our civilization.”

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Keynote speaker Lusnail Rondón Haberberger, CEO of LUZCO Technologies and Venezuelan- born American, spoke about the myths of women in engineering, and how she herself, overcame the difficulties of being a minority in the engineering field.

“One of the reasons I started LUZCO Technologies was to become a role model for young girls, especially those of minority,” said Haberberger. “Representation matters. If girls cannot see a woman in engineering, then how can they know they can do it? I hope to motivate these girls and inspire them through my achievement in engineering.”

Throughout her talk, Haberberger continually encouraged the girls with one main message. Believe in yourself, you can do it.

The School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees, and two cooperative doctoral programs, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students with challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. All undergraduate programs are accredited by their respective accreditation agencies.

Video: SIUE’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

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