Katie Benner earned her civil engineering degree from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. Here she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I get to solve puzzles every day.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
I enjoyed all building toys like Legos, Lincoln Logs, K'nex, but I also liked dolls. I preferred building houses and things for my dolls rather than use actual doll houses.
Puzzles and games have always been a joy as well. Anything with problem solving (even video games) may show an aptitude for STEM.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I didn't think about becoming an engineer until high school. For ages I thought I'd be an architect. My parents provided me building toys as a child. I had a natural aptitude for math, so my teachers put me in higher math classes since elementary school. And my parents heard about Excel, which was a one day per week accelerated learning class that I attended when I was in 5th and 6th grade. In 5th grade we focused a lot on building structures out of newspaper and bridges that had to carry load from Popsicle sticks.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I've always been interested in architecture, but as much as I love art, I'm not a great artist. I figured the math side of architecture - structural engineering - would be a better fit.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Engineers are needed throughout the world. I'm currently living in New Zealand because of my career. You can design Legos or become an Imagineer for Disney or develop games or send someone to Mars. You can construct something with your own hands or design something and watch it get created.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
When you're in the STEM field you are only limited by your imagination. If something doesn't exist - you can create it. STEM jobs can take you anywhere in the world and even out into space. There are still so many thing that haven't yet been discovered or explained or utilized. With STEM you can build the world you want to live in.
Thank you for contributing, Katie!
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