As @ladylabview (currently unofficial on Twitter, but official in my heart) and a leader in Corporate Marketing at NI, I find myself wearing several hats these day: self-proclaimed software geek, tech marketer, and computer scientist, to name a few. Fitting with my recent appointment to the Girlstart Board of Directors, I am also proud to wear the hat of a STEM education supporter and Women in STEM advocate.
I’m not alone in my pursuit to empower women and STEM, though. It is an incredible privilege to join others around the world who are shedding light on the need for support and empowerment within STEM.
I am proud that NI, as an organization, recognized this need and chose to prioritize investing in the next generations of engineers and scientists early on. From a student’s first time to work with a robot to celebrating lifetime achievements, investment in STEM education fuels the potential of future innovators who will continue to solve the world’s greatest challenges as technology evolves.
From my vantage point, many accomplishments have been made in STEM fields over the past few months, with leaders from around the world stepping up to cultivate, champion, and celebrate growth in their industries:
I have seen this growth in the United States as policymakers passed legislation in favor of bolstering education programs and promoting women in leadership at NASA and NSF.
Our company has partnered with it by developing the Women’s Leadership Forum at NIWeek, because we understand that carrying the torch of growth and empowerment is vital.
NI has invested in it through continued partnerships with organizations like FIRST, LEGO® Education, and Girlstart, knowing in addition to having access to technology, students of all ages and backgrounds need to feel like they belong and can succeed in STEM long-term.
Personally, this supportive spark in my own engineering story came at the encouragement of those around me, the village of people around me who invested in and empowered me to realize my own potential and fit in STEM. Because of their influence, I have made it a point to pay my engineering excitement forward to my own kids (to their chagrin at times) and children at a local elementary school where I serve as a LEGO® robotics mentor. After all, we may never know where the next Katherine Johnson, Grace Murray Hopper, or Wendy Freedman will be. They may just need us to empower them to envision their own future in STEM.
Every day, I realize more and more the importance of investing in STEM, and I invite you to engage in opportunities to support your own communities. I also encourage you to take these steps to celebrate your own STEM journey:
Remember who sparked your journey.
Look beside you and celebrate those who currently support you.
Look in front of you and see who champions where you are trying to go.
The future of engineering is already here, and NI is committed to growing its potential.