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The WiT Class in Manassas graduates
Training female students for tech careers
For more than 20 years, BAE Systems has collaborated with high schools near its facilities in New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia to offer the Women in Technology (WiT) Program to female students. This alliance provides young women who have an aptitude for math and science with a practical opportunity to explore careers in various technical disciplines.
"Each year at the graduation ceremony, the students are asked to present about their WiT experiences. It’s wonderful to hear the impact our program has had on these students’ futures. Some come into the program unsure of what type of engineering they are most interested in, or if they even want to pursue a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) related career," said Stephanie Livsey, New Hampshire WiT coordinator and senior electrical engineer at BAE Systems. "Watching these young women stand up and say that this program has in some way helped shape their college choices or career futures truly shows the importance of this program to our company and in the local community."
Students enrolled in the program visit BAE Systems at least once a week for between nine and 16 weeks during their junior and senior years of high school to participate in hands-on engineering modules. They also receive mentoring from technical experts who share their knowledge, encouragement, and guidance toward pursuing an engineering career. During their time at BAE Systems, students are exposed to several aspects of engineering by participating in technical rotations such as software, mechanical, and microwave engineering as well as signal processing and engineering manufacturing.
Other rotations include building skills in interpersonal communication and giving presentations, as well as providing opportunities for students to attend networking events with BAE Systems engineers to encourage insight into the industry.
"The WiT program at BAE Systems has allowed me to explore my passion for engineering, and it ensured me that it is a field I want to pursue in college," said Hannah Stickel from Battlefield High School, a graduate from WiT in Manassas, Va. "The program gave me access to experiences and people that I will never forget. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of it, and I hope to return back someday to work for this amazing company."
Our Nashua, N.H. site has 15 participating high schools in the WiT program, while Greenlawn, N.Y. welcomes 10 students from three area schools each year. In Manassas, young women from nine local schools participate in the program.
After completing WiT, seniors who have been accepted to college with a declared major in engineering are encouraged to apply for a summer internship opportunity at BAE Systems. Previous WiT graduates have continued on to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, with some graduates interning at BAE Systems and others joining as full-time employees.