If someone had told 13-year-old Amie Ferraro she would grow up to be an engineering manager at a major corporation, she would have said no way.
She had been told boys were better at math than girls, and she believed it.
“When I was in middle and high school, I didn’t like math, because I didn’t think I was good at it,” Amie said. “No one told me math can be fun and girls can be good at it.”
So when she joined UPS’s engineering group more than 10 years ago, she had to battle that little voice from her childhood telling her she might not be up for the challenge.
A paradigm shift
Because stories like Amie’s are all too familiar, The UPS Foundation is proud to support Girl Scouts of the USA and their efforts to encourage girls of all ages to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Only about 25% of professional STEM jobs are held by women,” said Amy Dosik, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. “We want to change expectations of who can be a scientist and create a more diverse workforce.”
The recently updated Girl Scouts’ badge curriculum focuses on STEM-related skills in computer science, nature/environment, engineering, design, health and agriculture.
- Naturalist badges invite girls to explore the outdoors.
- Digital art badges help girls build valuable technology and computer skills.
- Science and technology badges connect girls to favorite science topics like video game development, the physics of roller coasters and the technology used to create new fabrics.
- Innovation badges encourage problem solving using scientific methods from fields like anthropology, engineering, graphic design and business.
- Financial literacy badges prepare girls for a financially-sound future.
“The Girl Scouts’ STEM program aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s focus areas of equity and economic empowerment, and local engagement,” said Noy Bozarth, manager, UPS social impact and The UPS Foundation. “Since 1993, The UPS Foundation has donated nearly $2 million to Girl Scout chapters across the U.S., and UPSers have logged more than 188,000 volunteer hours with Girl Scouts at local troop levels, STEM expos and through Board positions.”
Girl Scouts of the USA has pledged to infuse the STEM career pipeline with 2.5 million girls by 2025.
While the content and intensity of the programs vary, they share common goals: increasing girls’ interest in STEM and confidence in their abilities, while providing education about STEM careers and connections with professionals.
According to a 2016 report published by the Girl Scout Research Institute:
- A majority of girls are more confident in their science and math abilities after participating in the STEM programs.
- 77% of girls say, because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.
- 71% of girls who had doubts at the start of the STEM program, agree more strongly women can be good scientists and engineers.
- 58% of girls disagree more strongly that engineering is a better career for a man than a woman.
In practical terms
As a People Led company guided by a strong purpose, UPS welcomes everyone to bring their unique perspectives, talents and skills to the company, and seeks to empower them all to excel professionally and personally. Now as an engineering manager for UPS air operations in Illinois, Amie uses math every day.
“I love what I do. I’ve come to love math and realize I am actually good at it,” she said. “I wish someone would have helped me realize I had that potential when I was younger. When math becomes practical, it’s fun.”