Mentoring Youth Around the Diversity of STEM

According to the United States Education Department (2018), careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are expected to gain millions of positions, with an increase specifically in mathematics jobs (by 15%), computer systems analysts (22%) and systems software developers (32%) by 2020.

To prepare the future workforce, especially female talent, Jabil Joules around the world are educating and inspiring the next generation of STEM employees in their communities. Their goal is to create opportunities for young females to learn about the diverse paths they can take in the industry and understand the variety of skills required.

One initiative that’s helping to bring attention to the unique possibilities is “STEM Goes Red,” a national campaign led by the American Heart Association, which teaches middle and high school aged girls how to improve their hearts and minds through a career in STEM. The program brings a unique perspective to the science, technology, engineering and math industries by showing how analytics, engineering, robotics and more play a part in health care.

In an effort to Educate and Mentor, two of the Joules’ focus areas, employees from Jabil St. Petersburg mentored at the Tampa Bay American Heart Association’s “STEM Goes Red” event.

(S) Science and Arts by Luis Herrera, principal design engineer

Mentoring Youth Around the Diversity of STEM

Science-based focus areas are only growing in influence, from self-driving cars and 3D printing to home automation, robotics, alternative energy and beyond. Because of its far reach, it’s important for us to support the different aspects of STEM, including the various skills required to successfully fill those positions. One thing I’m passionate about is the lesser known artistic development that’s needed to support the technical skills. Studies have shown art – music, especially – is conducive to scientific brain development. Using my position as a design engineer, I promote the importance of combining creativity and technical training because without both, progress can’t be made. The activity we did with the young girls at the “STEM Goes Red” event was perfect for me because we had the girls design a small robot, which was then used to create art, perfectly representing the combination of art and science.

(T) Technology and Teamwork, by TJ Lakeman, information technology compliance specialist

Mentoring Youth Around the Diversity of STEM

In order to be ‘good’ at technology, you need both the technical skills and soft skills, such as communication and teamwork. A lot of my work in IT compliance relies on collaboration and the sharing of diverse perspectives to come to the most agreeable solution. At its essence, technology can’t progress until ideas are shared across departments and enterprises. While volunteering at the “STEM Goes Red” event, I demonstrated the importance of teamwork and show the girls what can be accomplished when everyone works collectively. I focused on making sure everyone openly discussed what was working and not working while they built their robots and collaborated on making improvements together. Technology careers need the proper skill-base but in order to truly innovate, we need to work with each other.

Mentoring Youth Around the Diversity of STEM

(E) Engineers’ Responsibilities by Karen Perez, lead electrical engineer

The future of engineering is so broad, and like “STEM Goes Red” has shown, it’s important for every field, including the medical industry. I work in our Nypro division, so it was really fitting to mentor girls at the American Heart Association event – I work in an area where engineering is not typically first-associated with but is very much essential. That’s why I wanted to volunteer and help spark the interest for these young girls. I love my job, love to talk about it and love to get young girls excited about engineering. There aren’t a lot of ‘me’ in the engineering industry – a Hispanic female focusing on electrical engineering – so I want to empower any younger versions of myself out there and let them know they can do it, too.

(M) Mathematics is the Backbone by Jiao Li, finance controls senior associate

Mentoring Youth Around the Diversity of STEM

Math is widely in every industry like hospitality, engineering, marketing and manufacturing, such as Jabil where we use math for operations, production and reporting. Data and numbers are used to help leadership make informed decisions that can impact the entire company and employee-population. Often math is overlooked as a career option, but it’s crucial to every single business out there. And that is why I choose to volunteer and work with children in the community, so they can see the value of math and the possibilities it could lead to when they get older. This STEM event gave me a chance to have those open conversations with the girls in attendance and share my experiences with them, hoping to persuade a few who said math was their favorite subject to make a career out of it.

Together, these Joules are bringing STEM into the community, introducing the diverse needs of the industry and showing young women how they can all play an important role in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.