06-30-2017 12:50 PM
Girls like this one participated in hands-on STEM-related activities at the RockIt Into the Future Science Festival in San Antonio.
USAA employee Christina Marin understands what it’s like to be a female in a male-dominated field, and she’s part of a group trying to do something about that disparity.
“We want girls to understand they have options,” says Marin, a computer systems engineer.
Marin belongs to Aspire, a community of USAA employees focused on helping women in technology realize their full potential as well as advancing interest and excitement for information technology among young females.
One of Aspire’s most recent efforts involved helping with the 11th annual “RockIT Into the Future” Science Festival, sponsored by Girls Inc. of San Antonio. USAA was the presenting sponsor of the event.
Girls Inc. provides year-round programs to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming for girls. Marin and her Aspire peers helped coordinate USAA’s 18 booths and recruited more than 140 volunteers for the event.
Girls aged 8-18 participated in hands-on STEM experiences like making homemade slime and coding their names with beads. This year’s festival was the largest in its history, attracting more than 2,000 attendees.
“It’s an honor to be part of this company, which does so much to promote STEM initiatives for girls,” says Marin, who studied computer science the University of Texas-San Antonio. “It baffled me that, out of 30 students in my concentration, only three girls graduated. I wanted to prove that women could succeed in this field.”
RockIT Into the Future is just one of several Girls Inc. initiatives USAA supports through its corporate responsibility efforts. Another is “Eureka!”, a five-year program that immerses a cohort of girls, beginning in eighth grade, in STEM programming during the school year and summers to prepare them for college and beyond. Aspire members will continue their volunteering support by mentoring girls in the Eureka! program.
“One of our goals is to be involved with programs that highlight diversity,” says Selene Martin, director of corporate responsibility. “We love our relationship with Girls Inc. because it’s an opportunity for these girls, regardless of their economic background, to get their feet wet with STEM education.”
Earlier this year, USAA announced several other philanthropic investments in STEM-related programs, including STEMvest, a program to elevate STEM education and financial literacy in 15 San Antonio-area school districts, and CAST Tech, a new STEM-focused high school, scheduled to open in San Antonio this fall.
But USAA’s support of STEM programs isn’t just happening in San Antonio. USAA’s regional campuses are also investing in STEM-related activities in their communities, including collaborating and volunteering with nonprofit organizations and local school districts.
Investing in STEM programs to help meet the growing need for STEM-related skills for jobs across all industries is a focus area of USAA’s Corporate Responsibility strategy to support local communities. Learn more about USAA’s Corporate Responsibility strategy.
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