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New Ad Campaign Seeks to Encourage Girls to Pursue Careers in Engineering


A group of companies, nonprofits and the Ad Council have joined together for a public service campaign to encourage girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The She Can STEM ad campaign features women scientists giving messages of encouragement with a goal of challenging stereotypes and helping middle school girls overcome their perceptions of what STEM is by showing them what women scientists can do.

“When girls don’t feel encouraged and empowered in STEM, we see serious consequences not only for girls and women, but also for the future of innovation in our country,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “If we want women at the forefront of the next generation of STEM leaders, we must show young girls that it is possible.”

Corporate partners for the campaign include GE, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Verizon, and the campaign was created pro-bono by advertising agency McCann NY. Women from each of the technology company partners will post pictures of their younger selves with the tagline, “If she can STEM, so can you,” and describe how they got to where they are today.

Also joining the effort are teen STEM stars and social media influencers, including 15-year-old astronaut-in-training Alyssa Carson, Mari Takahashi from Smosh Games, and Karina “Slime Queen” Garcia, as well as teen actresses and content creators.

Nonprofit partners include Black Girls Code, ChickTech, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Who Code, National Center for Women & Information Technology, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Society of Women Engineers.

The national public service campaign includes digital and social creative content as well as television, print and out-of-home advertising that showcases the achievements of female STEM role models and will run in donated media time and space. Leading media and social media platforms including Google, Facebook, MTV, Playbuzz and Twitter have committed to supporting the campaign.

Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the United States but only 25 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM in middle school, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.

The PSAs feature:
• Lisa Seacat DeLuca, distinguished engineer at IBM
• Tiera Fletcher, structural analysis engineer at Boeing
• Maya Gupta, research scientist at Google
• Danielle Merfeld, chief technology officer at GE Renewable Energy
• Nicki Palmer, chief network engineering officer at Verizon
• Bonnie Ross, head of Microsoft Halo Game Studio
• Lucianne Walkowicz, astronomer at the Adler Planetarium

The campaign directs audiences to @SheCanSTEM on Instagram, where girls can find campaign content featuring STEM role models as well as resources from partners and nonprofits.

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