While it can be challenging to achieve a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the TranSTEM Academy at the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus is trying to break down some of these roadblocks for DC high school students. For the past 10 years, the TransSTEM Academy has held an Industry Day, which gathers professionals from around the District who work in the fields of aviation, transportation, construction, engineering, and information technology.
Staff from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) were honored to participate in this year’s Industry Day, which was hosted by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the National Association of Women in Construction (NABWIC) and Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure+. This event combined small seminars with students and professionals in addition to exhibits to highlight different jobs in STEM.
“There are a lot of options and obstacles to a career in STEM,” said TransSTEM Academy student Agnes, a junior who helped organize the event and is leaning towards a career in aerospace. “Industry Day has helped me decide what I want to do and has allowed me to meet people who have supported me.”
DCSEU’s Ted Diggs and Mansi Talwar spoke on separate panels about careers in infrastructure and engineering. Diggs, who serves as community relations manager, discussed emerging jobs in the green industry and gave advice on how to succeed in business and in life.
Talwar, DCSEU’s senior energy consultant manager, joined three other accomplished and passionate women engineers. The panel shared their own experiences starting a career in engineering as well as how to prepare for college, including tips for finding scholarships. The panelists agreed that it is important to surround yourself with positive people and to make friends who will help you jump over hurdles.
“I didn’t have these resources while growing up, so I am so excited to see that kids in high school have the opportunity to meet with people in the industry,” said Talwar. “I also like to make the new generation aware that it’s okay to not know what they want but that they should explore and be open minded.”
The engineering panel encouraged the students to work on their communication skills as the ability to communicate well is crucial in the workforce. They also advised the students to use social media to reach out to potential mentors and those working in their desired field.
“It was really impressive to see the students study college-level courses and take advantage of the STEM infrastructure that Cardozo has provided,” said Talwar. “The early start will help them create a foundation for college and for their future careers.”