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‘Standing Out’ in STEM: 120 middle school girls explore careers on ‘Girls in Tech Day’

Sangeetha Rai

MILWAUKEE -- Careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are exploding, but still, there's a need for more women in the field. To help break the mold, Northwestern Mutual on Monday, Feb. 11 hosted its second annual "Girls in Tech Day."

"As you look at the industry, there are not that many women in tech, or girls in tech," said Sangeetha Rai, vice president of technology customer success at Northwestern Mutual.

"Standing Out" was the theme of Monday's event, where more than 120 middle school girls discovered areas in STEM where they can shine.

From coding to design, the goal of the workshop was to introduce young girls to bright careers.

"They told us we could use 20 pieces and two colors couldn't be touching and we had to make a design that goes around the block," said Destiny Canady, eighth-grader at Golda Meir.

Canady said she had her eyes set on a career in medicine.

"I've never done anything like this, so it widens my experiences and what I might want to be when I grow up," said Canady.

It served as an opportunity to open minds and opportunities to succeed, even if it took a few tries.

"I just went straight into it. It was kind of leaning. I eventually got it," said Canady. "It was very frustrating. I broke a couple pieces, but I eventually got it."

The event's keynote speaker -- Sangeetha Rai -- said she hopes to be a role model to young women by teaching them to design their own paths.

"When they're faced with a decision, they have to be fearless. They have to acknowledge that fear and they have to not let fear drive them," said Rai. "They have to embrace it."

Northwestern Mutual's STEM outreach program -- hi, Tech -- hosts events for students throughout the year.

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