For Lisak, the ability to network was one of the most beneficial parts of attending the conference. “I think it is very important to network and learn about various companies so that you can find the best fit for a career,” she said. “The Society of Women Engineers Conference gave me that opportunity, and I think it was extremely beneficial.”

What advice does Lisak have for young women interested in STEM? “My advice to any young woman interested in STEM is to follow your passion,” Lisak said. “It is easier to move forward when you have a goal you are working toward, so I think it is important to focus and not be afraid to adjust.”

Jaxon went to sessions on neurodivergence, AI and space.

“The biggest takeaway was that we very much need ways to sustainably explore space that are inclusive of people's differences, and very possibly, robots too!” she said.

The Barrett students agreed that gatherings such as the SWE conference encourage more young women to join STEM fields because of the inspiration, networking opportunities and guidance they get from professional women engineers.

Jaxon said young women have unique backgrounds and gifts to offer the field and equated STEM with art.

“Be yourself, you are the only one who can,” she said. “Math is music, and music is art; there are things that will only exist because you make them. So come play!”

Story written by Barrett Honors College student Alex Marie Solomon