Every year, Caterpillar invites about 500 girls from school districts around the area over the course of two days to come in and see opportunities for future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Product Support Specialist Rachel Welker, acknowledges the importance of introducing these opportunities to girls at the middle school age.
“High school does kind of lead you into different directions, but the younger you are to experience some of these things, the more options that you have to go and learn more about it before you get to college,” Welker said.
While attending the event, girls listen to a guest speaker, learn how robots are built, experience a virtual reality cave that shows the inside of machines, learn about building structures, and more.
Welker said it is an opportunity for girls to experience a career that was not always available for them.
“When I was younger, this was not an option, so these types of things were not going on. So, I did not go into a STEM field, which I wish I would have,” Welker said.
The event also inspires the young girls who attend.
“This is definitely an advantage for us because we get to learn about these hard working women,” said Naomi Baird, an 8th grader from Morton Jr. High.
Welker said CAT is happy to present this opportunity to young girls from around the area and show them different options that are open to them.
“You can see that this is really affecting some of those girls, and driving them to fields that they didn’t even know they would enjoy,” Welker said.