Girls in STEM strive for success at CCSU conference

Published on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 22:27
Written by Angie DeRosa

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN-Teens who are part of the Young Engineers Summer STEM Workforce and Development Program at Central Connecticut State University were welcomed by members of TD Bank and the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Business leaders spoke to students in the program, offering tips and advice about their professions, including Rick Mullins, executive assistant to the president at CCSU ITBD, Jarod Carey, small business relationship manager for Southington and the New Britain Region of Central Connecticut at TD Bank, Mike LaBella, president of Connecticut Market at TD Bank, John Cookly, regional vice president for the Greater New Britain and Waterbury region at TD Bank, and Tim Stewart, president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce.

LaBella said it is the younger generation that is the future.

“Our competition isn’t banks anymore. It’s Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal,” he said. “Fewer people come into banks, people do it all online and on their phones.”

In order to keep up, LaBella said his top priority for new hires is to hire those with backgrounds in engineering or software development. He said all companies require these types of jobs.

Students in grades 8 through 12 participate in the program, which gives them access to hands on activities to learn about CAD Imaging, 3D printing/modeling with Solidworks and other programs, as well as how the programs are used in science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields.

The students also learn how to work independently and collaboratively in an academic and professional setting for three days a week for a month.

Sixteen girls from the YWCA New Britain’s STIVE program - an acronym for Strength, Teamwork, Respect, Individuality, Vision and Excellence - were part of the group participating in the young engineers’ workshop.

STRIVE coordinator Mallory Deprey, said the program provides youth development for girls attending Slade Middle School and helping them advance to high school to feel safe and comfortable while still learning and having fun.

The girls are encouraged to work hard to be successful and go on to further their education and to remember to prioritize self-care.

Also part of the group were six middle to high school teens from the TRiO program at CCSU - a program, which helps youth who are from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds complete high school and enroll in postsecondary education.

Students are able to attend the program for free through funding from TD Bank, the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce and other state and federal grants.

Most of the students had no prior experience using engineering software. But many said after participating in the classes and workshops, they have grown interested in the field as a possible career path.

Corey from TRiO said he had an interest in biomedical engineering, and after being in the program it has reassured him that it is something he wants to do when he grows up.

Stewart said he started his career as an engineer after graduating from the University of Hartford. His degree helped him think “outside the box” during his eight years as mayor.

“I was able to look at things differently than most politicians,” Stewart said.

Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 22:27. Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2017 22:29.