Inspiring girls to follow their dreams | Mayor's Message

By Jennifer Gregerson | Sep 21, 2016

I loved growing up in Mukilteo.

After college, I was fortunate to find a great career that allowed me to stay in my hometown and put down my own roots here.

Before I ever became mayor, I followed my passion for yearbook journalism and became a sales representative here, working with schools in the Puget Sound.

I saw that there were opportunities for me and followed that dream.

I want our girls to see there are possibilities for themselves in our region, as well.

Our biggest industry is our aerospace sector, and Mukilteo’s young women should know there’s a place for them at our great aerospace companies who need their smarts and their energy now more than ever.

Studies show that the primary reason women don’t pursue careers in engineering is that they aren’t encouraged to consider it.

Because of that, I decided to include a program to encourage girls in middle school to think about engineering as part of my 2016 Action Agenda.

We hosted the Cool Girls in Aerospace seminar this summer, welcoming 10 girls ages 12 to 15, to Edmonds Community College’s Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field. I am pleased to say that it was a success.

Through the program, they some met brilliant women, such as Shannon Deacon from Boeing and Chelsea Orvella of Boeing’s SPEEA union, Kylie Martineau from Electroimpact, Betty Walsh of United Way of Snohomish County, Grace Holland and Luralee Lorenzen from Boeing’s Machinists union IAM 751 – who inspired to dream big dreams.

The girls also received hands-on experiences with an awesome machinist instructor, and took home a cool composite, wire and metal piece that they constructed themselves.

They formed new bonds with each other and got excited about what they learned.

“It was a terrific opportunity to see and do things most girls my age don’t get a chance to experience,” said sixth grader Annabelle Kisky, one of the participants. “It certainly opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.”

“I loved Cool Girls because it directed me toward a new career that I will definitely love,” said Paige Stinson, an eighth grader. “It was really inspiring just to go follow your dream. It was super fun and if I could, would do it again.”

Our community depends on the aerospace sector, and we have many bright young minds who would make excellent engineers and mechanics right here in Mukilteo.

Encouraging women to pursue careers in aerospace isn’t just about preparing the future of the workforce – the fact is that jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pay 33 percent more on average than non-STEM jobs.

Closing the pay gap between men and women means encouraging girls to explore all the same opportunities as boys.

I’m very proud of the work our staff did to make Cool Girls in Aerospace a reality.

I hope you are as energized as I am to know that girls – like Annabelle and Paige – had a summer experience as powerful as this one.

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