According to the American Association of University Women, females make up half of the workforce but only 28 percent have jobs in STEM.
This week, career professionals went to Lone Star Flight Museum to learn about the seasonal and year-round “Girls in Aviation” programs that will launch this summer.
Over 200 people packed a room for the first “WINGS” breakfast. The acronym WINGS stands for “Women Inspiring the Next Generation through STEM.
“It was very hard for me because I knew that aviation was really dominated by men and it held me back a little bit longer than should have. And finally, that passion and that bug for flying just overwhelmed me,” said Col. Eileen Collins.
Collins is a former astronaut and the first female pilot and commander of a space shuttle turned author spoke at the event. Collins wrote a book to encourage young people, especially young girls, to look at career opportunities in the military, aviation, and space. Collins says women are underrepresented in stem fields.
“If you have a STEM background whether it’s a four-year college degree, or a two-year college degree, or maybe a technical program. You will be needed. You will get a job,” said Collins.
Faith Norwood was recognized at the event. She recently graduated with her high school diploma and associate degree. Norwood says volunteering at the flight museum sparked her interest in aviation.
“I was always like, ‘Oh it’s an airplane and I went on about my day,’ and when I first tried, I realized I’m great at this and it’s something that I can do and then it can be a service to others and something I’m good at. It won’t just be about me,” said Norwood.
The acronym STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, falls within industries that are typically male dominant.
Chief Executive Officer of the Lone Star Flight Museum, Doug Owens, says they offer aviation-related programs to give kids an early look into what a career in stem looks like.
“We need everybody’s help in promoting the STEM career fields and be able to produce everything our nation needs to move forward,” said Owens.
Norwood plans to continue her education and enter the Air Force. She wants to encourage her peers to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.
“Everything’s going to have its hardship. Nothing is going to be easy if you really want it. Like, if you really want it.. It’s not going to be easy – keep going,” said Norwood.
“You need to be very very focused on why you’re there and be the best you can be. And I think that way you will love what you’re doing,” said Collins.
To learn more about summer volunteer or education opportunities with the Lone Star Flight Museum visit their website.