NIPSCO Employees Mentor, Develop Girl Scouts with 2017 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

NIPSCO Employees Mentor, Develop Girl Scouts with 2017 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Around 175 young girls filled NIPSCO and NiSource's Merrillville Headquarters in celebration of Engineering Week, with dozens of teams of NIPSCO engineers and Girl Scouts working together to create their own bridges.

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The event was part of NIPSCO's DAWN Program, which has the goal of recruiting, retaining and accelerating the development of women at NIPSCO and serve as a voice to increase understanding and awareness of inclusion, diversity, and culture. Each of the Girl Scouts ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade and each attendee had one hour to work with NIPSCO engineers to create a bridge from materials provided.

This year was the largest ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’ that NIPSCO has celebrated.

“This is the 5th year that NIPSCO and NiSource have celebrated Engineering Day,” said Dee Cota, Director of New Business for NIPSCO and a volunteer at the event. “We’ve been inviting the Girl Scouts to work with our engineers since we heard that ‘Introduce a Girl Scout to Engineering Day’ existed. It has grown from 100 the first year to nearly 175 this year. We’re really excited for that.”

NIPSCO and the Girl Scout program both hope that ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’ encourages girls to consider going into the field.

“I love this event because one little spark can change a girl's course for life,” said Vicki King, Vice President of Programs and Property for the Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “Something she does, someone that she meets or hears talk about engineering might set that girl on a trajectory to engineering herself when she grows up.”

King credits the NISPCO female engineers for showing young girls the details and benefits of pursuing engineering and for fighting against the loss of interest girls experience with STEM-related careers.

“We have women engineers to mentor them throughout the day. These girls are becoming engineers for the day. They’re having a great time building a bridge, and our engineers are lighting their way.”

The event is carefully designed to see every girl to their highest potential.

“Each girl has a job, and they’re working on what they’re best at. Some girls are stronger at decorating, others are stronger with problem-solving. Some girls thinking more scientifically, and some are creatives. The creatives get to help by decorating the bridge and making signs. They all feel very capable, and that is our goal,” said Kristin Short, Vice President of Philanthropic Leadership.

The Girl Scouts were given many opportunities to ask engineers questions. They learned about what to do if they smell natural gas and the dangers of power lines, saw how NIPSCO tracks power outages, and even witnessed a model house explode!

The event also featured a candy bar the girls could visit once after lunch.

Executive Vice President and President of NIPSCO Violet Sistovaris, had inspirational words for the young women before the event.

“You represent our future, and maybe one day you’ll be back here, right in this very building, making a difference. Learn as much as you can. Be the confident individuals that you are. Help one another, and have fun.”

For more information on the programs offered by NIPSCO, click here.