Engineer advises students: Take care of business

What if preschoolers of color routinely donned lab coats, examined bugs under play microscopes and enjoyed other toys that intentionally pointed them to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)?

Jessica Ray (right)

Perhaps the number of minorities in STEM fields like Jessica Ray would explode. Currently, women and minorities only represent a small fraction of the industry.

According to the March 2012 Diversity in Science and Engineering Employment In Industry InfoBrief by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, “Minority women account for 10 percent and minority men account for 15 percent of scientists and engineers working in industry, with about half of all minorities being Asian.”

“I kind of fell into engineering,” said Ray, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

“I enjoyed math and did well in my science classes. I think what really set me on the path to engineering was my love for puzzles and problem-solving. That more than anything is what makes an engineer an engineer.”