cHanG­inG tHe “Belle” curve

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

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

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