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International Women’s Day: Empowering the Next Generation of Women in STEAM

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day of recognition of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women - and HARMAN is once again joining the celebrations across our facilities all over the world. HARMAN has long been a champion for women pursuing their careers and professional development in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), and we remain committed to fostering a diverse and supportive culture.

In recognition of IWD, we sat down with Kayla Jordan, Electrical Applications Engineer, Julia Balowski, Leadership Experience Acceleration Program (LEAP) Engineer, and Anna Shabrova, Associate Acoustic Engineer, to learn more about their own career paths and the moment they realized their true passion for STEAM subjects. Read on to discover the advice they have for the next generation of women in STEAM…

Q: What advice or guidance would you give to younger girls who are thinking of pursuing engineering (or STEM)?

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KAYLA JORDAN (KJ): The advice I would give to younger girls who are considering STEM is to go for it. Do not be intimidated by the fact that there are more boys than girls. The statistics can only change if you believe in yourself and give it a shot! Never be afraid to seek help and lift up others who need it the most. Possibilities are opening up in engineering every day. If you’re not doing what you would like to do as an engineer, gaining more exposure is the best strategy. It may be difficult at first, but try to join programs that are geared towards getting younger students exposed to engineering. Don’t hesitate to pull an engineer to the side and seek their advice.

JULIA BALOWSKI (JB): If you have even the slightest interest in engineering, go for it! Technical knowledge allows for so much creativity and job diversity, since you can apply the skills you learn to any field, such as the automotive, health, financial services industries and more.

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ANNA SHABROVA (AS): In addition to the universal advice of not allowing negativity to discourage you and to always believe in yourself, I’d say it's important to find a community that will support you and push you to grow. Size doesn’t matter – one or two people can also make a community. Also, don't feel like you have to live up to what others expect of you, or what you think they expect. Always play to your own strengths and interests.

Q: What made you want to become an engineer? When did you know this was the right path for you?

KJ: I wanted to become an engineer because I was fascinated by the work that my family members were conducting as engineers. I have always held an interest in electronics, software and problem solving. I first knew I wanted to be an engineer when I was in high school, and my dreams were solidified once I participated in programs like the McNair Scholars program and the National Society of Black Engineers. Despite the classes becoming progressively more difficult, I knew I could succeed because I had a group of people close to me who always motivated me to keep going. I’m glad that I persevered can now help younger people hoping to go into the STEM fields.

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JB: I chose to become an engineer because the future of humanity will be governed by tech –extending the abilities of individuals, influencing the ethics of a population, and determining how society will evolve. I didn’t know I wanted to be an engineer until my third year in university, when I changed majors from health science to bioelectrical engineering. It’s never too late to follow your dreams.

AS: I've always enjoyed being able to explain how things work and so I fell in love with conceptual physics during my first year of community college. It allowed me to figure out the physical world around me (to a degree) and I viewed engineering as applied physics. I didn't have plans to be an engineer until my very last year of high school, when I was planning on going into theater. My current major and career allow me to blend my interest in physics with my interest in art, which luckily works out very well for me.

Women remain under-represented in the technology industry, despite evidence that companies with more women have better business outcomes. At HARMAN, we continue to focus our efforts on closing this gap. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and stay tuned to HARMAN.com for more details about our International Women’s Day Celebrations.