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Wilsonville company holds event encouraging girls to pursue engineering careers

Nationally, only about 13% of all engineers are women. Collins Aerospace held a special event Thursday to encourage girls to join the field.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — Only a small percentage of engineers across the country are women. To help change that, Collins Aerospace in Wilsonville held a special event Thursday to encourage girls to join the field.

The day started with what looked like arts and crafts, but was really a lesson in design.

“I think even without the parachute it's going to work,” explained eighth grader Madison Fisher as she worked with her group on the project.

The goal was to build a contraption that would protect an egg when it is dropped from a ladder. Each group had a different idea, but ultimately five survived the highest drop from the ladder.

“It's teaching them creativity and that they're able to do this. A lot of times girls are told, women are told, that they're not able to do something creative, not able to design, that their role is somewhere else and we want to give them an example of engineering, of creativity’s important, learning to design is great,” said Lorrin Johnson, a former engineer who is now a marketing manager at Collins Aerospace.

Nationally, only about 13% of all engineers are women. Events like this one at Collins Aerospace hope to change that.

“They're able to see women as group leads, women running these demos and a mix of guys and girls, of just people, who are wanting and enthusiastic to have them here and telling them you can do this and this is a future of potential opening for you,” Johnson said.

The girls also got to experience the flight simulator and try on the helmets Collins Aerospace designs for military pilots. It gives them a peek at what a career in engineering could look like for them in the future.

“I think this is great,” said eighth grader Jasmine Brown. “It's really fun. It's a cool way to experiment and try new things.”

Organizers believe this really does encourage girls to choose a career in the STEM field.

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