Caroline, an Alumna of Girls Inc. of Columbus & Phenix-Russell, shares how Girls Inc. helped grow her love of STEM and the arts.
What are you up to now?
I am a Global Program Manager at UL, LLC, one of the most recognized safety testing laboratories worldwide. I work from home along with my husband, Aaron, in Arlington, VA.
What would you like to tell the supporters of Girls Inc.?
When you support Girls Inc., you broaden horizons for girls who, in many cases, have limited means and opportunities. I remember many girls who started their tenure at Girls Inc. saying they wanted to be hairdressers because it was one of the only female careers they had exposure to growing up. By the end of the summer, they would instead say they wanted to be a lawyer, a business owner, an actor, or any number of other careers that they never considered before Girls Inc.
What advice would you give to girls knowing what you know now?
Never shy away from solving problems. As an engineer, I always look at situations through a problem-solving lens, even when they have nothing to do with math or science. When people see you as a problem-solver, they want you on their team, both professionally and personally. It is always easy to give excuses for why you should not, cannot, or will not act in a difficult situation. When you show you are willing to step in and be part of a solution, however, your coworkers and loved ones hold you in a separate category as someone to be trusted and respected.
Can you share reflections on how you may have experienced a degree of economic or social mobility in your life — and how you think Girls Inc. played a part in that for you?
I, like many other girls, went to Girls Inc. initially because my parents could not afford any other local summer day camp. I found many of my passions in STEM and the arts through the programs at Girls Inc., and now I am thriving both professionally and personally.
Is there anything further you’d share around pro-girl spaces / environments or being part of a community?
Growing up as girls in America, we have so many conflicting influences in our lives. Family, social media, movies, school, friends…it can be hard to get a handle on what is healthy for our lives and future. Spending time at Girls Inc. provides positive influence for growing girls and helps crystallize passions and opportunities. Girls Inc. provides community where there might be none, and helps with providing the unique support that girls need to thrive in modern America.