Whirlpool sponsors summit to inspire next generation of women in STEM

NOW: Whirlpool sponsors summit to inspire next generation of women in STEM

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Lake Michigan College hosted over 160 high school girls at the Mendel Center for the GET IT Connection Summit, sponsored by Whirlpool, to learn how they can have a future in STEM.

"This is a conference designed specifically for high school-aged women and it's to teach them about the tech space in terms of the educational possibilities and the career possibilities, but it's also designed to help prepare them for success," said Tammy Doroshewitz, with the Michigan Council on Women in Technology.

The girls, from schools all over Southwest Michigan, including Benton Harbor, Lakeshore and Buchanan, had the opportunity to hear from folks in the industry and get key advice in learning how to advance a STEM career, by choosing the right college for them and what programs they should get involved in.

Doroshewitz said that hosting these events are key in bringing in more women into the STEM fields, where they make up only one-third of the workforce, because while girls may show interest in the sciences at an early age, that spark can fade, either because of social pressures and anxieties, losing interest or just being unaware it's a door that's open to them.

"A lot of young women don't think about this as a possibility," said Doroshewitz. "So that's what these sessions are all about."

It's also meant to show that STEM is much broader than science and technology.

Whirlpool CIO Priya Srinivas said, "the key is to dispel the myth about STEM. So it's not that you only have to be a coder, or only have to be an engineer. You can be an artist, you can be a writer, you can be a designer and still have a fantastic career in STEM."

For Benton Harbor senior Abigayle Persaud, the summit was also an opportunity to connect.

"I feel like they met a lot of people. I saw a lot of people asking for social media, asking for their names, stuff like that," Persaud said.

So it's a great way to meet like-minded people and kind of network? I asked.

"Yes," Persaud agreed.

The event's organizers were thrilled by the turnout.

The Michigan Council on Women in Technology host multiple events throughout the year for girls of all ages to get them interested in STEM.

If you have any children interested in attending one of their events, more info can be found here

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