For a long time, we've been hearing about the need for more young girls to get into STEM programs that might put them on track for professions in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Now we hear from one woman who says she is starting to see some progress on this front. Irene Nigaglioni is an architect with PBK Architects. She specializes in designing schools and learning environments.
“Architecture it is definitely construction, male-dominated, and we struggle to find women to come and join and stay."
Many of them leave to take care of their children, Nigaglioni says.
Nigaglioni says when she first started years ago, there was pushback from some men in her field:
“Very early on in my career I was sent to meetings to run meetings and they would call back and talk to our president and go 'what are you thinking?' And he would say just hang in there and you will see. So, it happened and you just...I don’t know...I guess I just brush it off and figure at some point in time I will show them I can do it."
"I took over a high school project once and the project manager told me I was not going to be able to keep up with the project and how I was going to be behind and how within a week they were going to have me kicked off the job. So, that was on a Saturday evening."
"Monday morning, I showed up at the jobsite and asked what do you need answers on and he said, 'Oh, I wasn’t ready for you and I said 'Okay, I’ll be back tomorrow,' and I showed up every day for three weeks and he finally said I get it---you have it!”
Nigaglioni says after she won over her reluctant peer, they went on to become friends.
Now she focuses on inspiring the next generation of girls who opt for STEM careers.
“I like to speak to a lot of middle school girls and I tell them that careers in science and math are so critical for women to get into."
Nigaglioni says in recent years, local school districts have made noticeable progress on this front, with more girls in activities like robotics.
“It’s not as hard for me to speak to middle school girls today as it was 10 years ago about going into these kinds of careers," she says.
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