Stem Outreach: Together We Can Make a Difference

May 25, 2016 by Laura Livingston
Categories: Outreach

This year marks the ninth in a row that Westinghouse Women in Nuclear (WIN) has presented a scholarship award to a graduating female student. This year’s winner is Regina Munsch, and after reviewing her application, it’s easy to see that she holds a real love for all things math and science. As a result of her excellent academic endeavors, Regina will be primed and positioned to achieve success when she heads off to college this fall to study Industrial Engineering.

2016 WIN Scholarship winner, Regina Munsch (center), pictured with Westinghouse leaders Michele DeWitt (left) and Laura Livingston (right).

>Regina drew her inspiration to follow her dream of becoming an engineer mostly from her family. Her father and sister are both engineers, while her mother is a mathematics major. Clearly STEM is in her genes, and while this is great news, it’s not the case for most students.

So it got me thinking about our role as mentors and volunteers. I hope this will inspire and motivate others to stay involved in events throughout the communities where we all live and work; it makes a difference.

From 1893, when George Westinghouse hired Bertha Lamme, the first female electrical engineer in the U.S., to today, Westinghouse continues its legacy to ensure that all students, with a particular focus on young women, are exposed to STEM-related careers.

Making a Difference
Inspiring and exposing young students to STEM-related careers within the nuclear industry should be everyone’s personal mission, not just employees of Westinghouse. Together, we all share the responsibility to participate in and volunteer for events that encourage students to think about their career options.

Why? Because there is strong evidence to support the idea that mentoring young students is directly linked to increased academic success and improved social skills. When students have strong mentors to support them, they become interested in and intrigued by the possibility of a successful career.

As proof, during a recent engineering fair at a western Pennsylvania high school, students were impressed with the personal testimony of a freshman college student – who just 12 months prior, attended the same school and participated in the same type of engineering fair. As he spoke to the students, he mentioned to them that the mentoring he received and his participation in the fair one year ago was the reason he became interested in STEM and why he chose to become an engineering major at Carnegie Mellon University.

So, the next time you think kids aren’t paying attention, think again, because they really are. For your next volunteer opportunity, I’d like to challenge and encourage you to offer your time and expertise to mentor a student. Together, we can make a difference!

Laura Livingston

Laura Livingston
Key Account Vice President, Americas West
Westinghouse Electric Company