SheTech and Legend Solar partnering to interest girls in STEM careers
May 15, 2017
Brooklyn Hafen, a student at Dixie Success Academy, has always had an interest in science, but her favorite subject by far is math.
“I like playing with numbers,” Hafen says, adding that she enjoys using “crazy formulas” to define things and solve problems she didn’t even know could be explained.
During the SheTech event at Southern Utah University, Hafen was not alone in her passion for things in the science and mathematical realm. Surrounded by other female high school students, Hafen was able to explore a variety of careers that rely on math, science, technology and engineering — all fields that could use a stronger female presence.
“It was amazing,” Hafen says. “I would love to go again next year.”
Marquelle Jennings, a fellow Dixie Success Academy student echoed Hafen’s sentiment.
“It was interesting to learn about the technology used in every day careers,” Jennings says. “I’m interested in graphic design, but that’s not set in stone.”
As a sponsor for the event, Legend Solar was on hand to explain to the participants about the science and technology used in generating solar power, and to illustrate the impact solar power can have on the world and its future.
“Anytime we can spread the message of sustainable energy and the fact that solar power really is the power solution of the future, especially when we can spread that message to the younger generation, that’s always a good thing,” says Jud Burkett, director of corporate communication at Legend Solar.
During the opening meeting at SheTech, Burkett was able to explain a little more about the vital role solar power will play in the future of the planet, and the rewarding work available to people interested in the field.
“It’s a place where I have the opportunity to make a good living and also feel like I’m doing my part for the world and leaving the world a better place for future generations,” Burkett says.
Although the issue of global warming remains a polarizing debate, Burkett says regardless of where people stand, it’s easy to see the impact pollution has on people around the globe.
“Solar is a way to solve the pollution problem,” Burkett says.
Like many of the other students at SheTech at SUU, Hafen says she didn’t know much about the solar industry but learned a lot about solar, as well as other industries during the breakout classes.
For example, during the Legend Solar demonstration, Burkett asked students to rank 10 items based on the amount of power they used. Things like an iPhone, Xbox, hair dryer, three kinds of light bulbs and more. Then they went outside and connected each item to the portable solar panels to measure the kilowatt draw. The student who ranked the items in the correct order won a personal portable solar panel.
In case you’re wondering, the hair dryer used the most power, shutting down the 1,000 KW system. The item that used the least power in the list: the iPhone, followed closely by the LED light bulb.
“People were really receptive,” Burkett says. “They had a lot of insightful questions.”
One such question was, “How many women are there on staff at Legend Solar?”
The answer, which could be true of so many companies in the tech world, is “not enough.”
“There’s a contribution that women make, a different vision for everything from marketing to installations to sales… there’s value to having more women in these fields and we would love the opportunity reap more of that value,” Burkett says.
Such is the message behind the SheTech event. More women are needed in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and the more girls and women who understand the kinds of careers available to them in those fields, the better.