Mississippi Power Teaches Girls About Engineering Through Annual Program
Right now, only 12% of America’s engineers are women, but that number could soon increase. Mississippi Power’s iCan program exposes freshman high school girls to engineering. Hillary Jordan, a freshman at West Harrison High School, says, "We learned how to build a car and how to get the motor to work with the wheels, which is a lot harder than you would think it would be to build a little toy car. They make it look so easy, but it’s really not."
The iCan program started three years ago with hopes of attracting more women to a male dominated field. Lauren Taylor, Major Accounts Planner for Mississippi Power, says, "I think women bring a different mindset to projects and into work groups and it’s great to have them integrated in there with the men and we just want these girls to know that just because a lot of women don’t do it, doesn’t mean that they can’t do it." Merlynn Hines, another freshman at West Harrison High, says, "It’s just creating an awareness that women can do anything that men can do."
It’s no secret that girls love their shoes, but on Thursday, they weren’t shopping for them, they were making them. Sydney Riemann, another freshman at West Harrison, says, "It was to help understand the civil engineering and it made me understand how we had to form the shoe to fit the arch of the foot and the heel."
Harrison Central High School senior, Chasity Barber, did this same program three years ago. It’s had quite the impact. Because of the program, she chose to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. Barber says, "If you think that you can do something, do it. Don’t be scared to do it just because of who’s telling you you can’t do it."
Jordan closes, "I think this program definitely helps us to see that there’s more to it than just being a strong male. We can be a woman and be an engineer." This is the fourth year Mississippi Power has put on this program. They invite a different school every year to participate.