cHanGinG tHe “Belle” curve
Here’s a pitch for girls everywhere: Want to create life-changing tech? Set your sights on Abbott.
it takes commitment at an early age to build successful careers in science, technology, engineering and math (stem). Women make up just 15-25 percent of stem jobs today, and closing that gap will mean flattening the “Belle curve” by getting girls excited about these fields right out of the gate.
“When women are underrepresented in any field, the world misses out on their brain power to collaborate and solve the biggest problems,” said corlis murray, abbott’s top engineer.
murray’s own journey into engineering’s upper echelon began when she was plucked from her high school fast-food job in dallas, texas, to become an engineering intern at iBm. Her message to girls and minorities: if you want to create the devices, medicines and products that help everyone live better, you can. raise your hand, try things that scare you — be avidly curious.
engineers are the second-largest stem occupation, but about 1 out of every 7 engineers is female, and just 1 in 50 is african-american like murray. changing those numbers takes encouragement from others along with determination, but just 10 percent of girls say their parents urge them to think about becoming engineers.
“i had the fortune of having a terrific mentor who believed in me, and i came to believe i could become an engineer,” murray said. murray also participated in the #ilooklikeanengineer social media campaign aimed at defusing the notion that women can’t excel in these positions. “you are all capable, and smart — anyone can ‘look’ like an engineer.”
Corlis Murray, Abbott’s SVP of Quality, Regulatory and Engineering Services, with her granddaughter Arianna