Worcester program helps expose young girls to careers in STEM and leadership roles

WORCESTER, Mass. — Anh Tran is a senior in high school who just completed a five-year program at Girls Inc. in Worcester. This after-school program allowed her to intern with Consigli Construction.

“That was really an eye-opening experience especially stepping into a job site,” said Anh Tran. “It helped me figure out, oh I can totally do this.”

Tran says her internship inspired her to major in civil engineering at Princeton next year. She even earned a full ride.

“Every year we’ve been able to kind of expose them to what it means to wear a hard hat and an apron that has a hammer in it and you’re not putting it on to cook you know,” said Pam Daly, Director of Financial Services at Consigli Construction.

Consigli Construction is one of many companies that sponsor students at Girls Inc.

Over the last five years, these students were able to work on job sites with the company.

“We had women in every aspect of our company come to these events that we would do and talk to the girls about how important it was to get involved in organizations that are male-dominated,” said Daly. “And how important it is to be a woman and kind of take that stand and decide that’s the career you’re going to go through.”

After graduating from this five-year program, more than 66 percent of the girls choose to major in a STEM-related field. That’s more than double the national average.

“They’re at places like Dell, Boston Scientific, big organizations as well as smaller organizations that suit their interests,” said Victoria Waterman, CEO of Girls Inc. in Worcester.

Girls Inc. serves 130 girls a year from 8th to 12th grade all paid by corporate sponsors. The goal is to expose young girls to careers in STEM and leadership roles.

“And hear from these really cool women who are making good money, who are self-sufficient and they’re doing work that they’re proud of and they prosper in,” said Waterman.

Tran says she noticed mostly men at her internship meetings at Consigli, but the one other woman in the room inspired her to break into the industry.

“The ratio is totally skewed and having to see someone else in that room that looked like me really assured me and I hope to become someone like that too,” said Tran.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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