The traditional season of giving — both thanks and gifts — is upon us. What better time to look back on a summer scholarship surprise that opened doors for 40 young women interested in engineering careers?
For more than 40 years, Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs (SYP) has been offering experiences that stretch the boundaries of more traditional camps and put STEM education into action through team projects, on-campus activities and field trips. One of the most popular programs is Junior Women in Engineering (JWIE). JWIE is one of several highly competitive scholarship-funded programs that covers tuition, room and board. In 2018, 60 middle-school students applied to JWIE, which historically accepts 20 students.
When ITC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Jipping heard about the overwhelming interest and demand in the program, he proposed a solution: ITC Holdings Corp., an electricity transmission company based in Novi, Michigan, volunteered to cover the $40,000 cost for the remaining 40 young women to attend JWIE and other SYP engineering programs (there are several experiences to choose from).
“Mr. Jipping didn’t want the first message these girls received in pursuing engineering to be a ‘no,'” said Amanda Jackson, assistant director at Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach, which operates the SYP explorations and other college access programs that bring science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students around the country and the world.
“ITC has long recognized the need for more young women to enter the engineering profession. It’s programs like this that quench the thirst for knowledge and help place students on the path to academic — and professional — success.”
The company also sent an ambassador — 2009 Michigan Tech graduate Ashley Simpson, a human performance specialist with ITC, returned to Houghton to chat with SYP campers and share what it’s like to work for the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country.
“As an alum of Summer Youth Programs, I know what a difference it can make in the lives of young women,” said Simpson, who attended SYP as a high school students and returned as a counselor during her studies at Michigan Tech. “My hope is that programs like this continue to provide opportunities for young women to grow and succeed while at school, as well as after graduation.”
Read the complete original story by visiting the Michigan Tech news page.