Today hundreds of girls in our area got an inside look inside Caterpillar's Technical Center.
The visit was a part of the "Introduce a Girl to STEM" event, bringing in students from local middle and junior high schools.
The girls participated in hands-on activities and listened to presentations from professionals.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Brooke Hart, who is on the engineering team at CAT, says many girls lose interest in stem-related fields. For example, some may feel pressure to pursue other careers considered more transitional for women. About 80% of men, she says, pursue stem-related fields compared to 20% of women.
"We can do a lot to improve just by increasing female role models [...] by giving exposure [...] by providing the inspiration and targeting them young," shares Hart.
Caterpillar has sponsored this event since 2013. Schools picked the girls from this trip based on interest.
Around 500 girls from about 45 area schools participated.
Professionals hope students will walk away with more interest in these careers.