Launching My STEM Career
I grew up in central Massachusetts in a small town called Hubbardston, and my middle school didn’t have any after-school programs geared toward STEM. There wasn’t even a traditional science fair like I was always seeing in programs on TV.
I thought it would be a cool way to help students see how to use scientific methods and processes to explore their own interests in the world—so as part of my Gold Award, which I earned in 2006, I started a science mentoring program to help middle school students learn from high school students. I set it up so that the program culminated with a science fair, the kind I had always wished I had access to when I was younger.
Years later, after graduating from college with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a graduate degree in engineering and manufacturing management, I took a job at a small medical device contract manufacturer in the Berkshires. There, I got the opportunity to hire an intern, and it turned out that even though we were hours from my hometown, that intern had participated in that science fair I had developed years earlier.
Something I think about a lot is how it really only takes one spark to set you on your path.
For a lot of girls, the Gold Award is one of their first opportunities to work independently and own a project. It starts and ends with you. It was one of my first real leadership opportunities, and my first chance to coordinate different stakeholders … and it really mimics what I do now in my current job. I work with heavy equipment machine operators and I work with executives. That skill set of being able to communicate with a wide variety of people has really stuck with me, and it set me on the path to my current career as an aerospace and manufacturing engineer.
Hannah DeLisle-Stall, 33