Last month, nearly 200 middle school girls got the chance to see behind the scenes into the automotive industry. It was part of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum’s 9th All Girls Auto KnowTM event. works to promote STEM for careers in the Automotive to young girls. This SAWF outreach program invites Middle School girls to learn about the many options which exist for women in STEM and the Automotive Industry.
SAWF’s Past-President Cherie McCain took on the pilot program and developed it into a trademarked name. “We need more girls going to school in the first place,” she states, “so the best way to do that is to start out with them at an earlier age and to let them know that they have lots of choices.”
The event was held at Draxlmaier and big name companies like BMW, Michelin and Mercedes-Benz showed the girls that working on cars and pursuing a career in engineering isn’t just for boys. This event welcomed middle school girls from 8 schools in 2 counties. The day included an introduction to STEM and careers in automotive from SAWF, a tour of the new Greenville Tech Center for manufacturing innovation, a design of experiments hands-on project, and an expo of STEM and Auto representatives from education and businesses including Clemson, BMW, Michelin, Draexlmaier, Bosch and Benore Logistics.
“More boys think that this is just for boys. But I’ve thought about doing this a lot because I love cars, and just like the idea of it,” says Miller Schachner, an eighth-grade student at Dawkins Middle School.
The girls got the chance to see how car parts are made, and got the chance for a hands-on challenge in engineering. The goal is to show girls there are plenty of options for them to follow their dreams, and get the job they want.
“It’s very inspiring. It makes you push more to be where they are and learn about how they’re doing and how they’re succeeding, and what you can do to be on their level or where their accomplishments are,” says Tiraney Petty, an eighth-grade student at Fairforest Middle School.
For the next school year, SAWF plans to host All Girls Auto KnowTM in SC again, but also to expand the program into other SC regions and into Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA.
If you would like to support a future All Girls Auto KnowTM event, please contact Cherie McCain.