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Empowering Young Women to Pursue Engineering Careers

feat. Christiana Aguirre

What initially called Christiana Aguirre to pursue a career in engineering was a deep interest in solving problems, and a love of applied learning towards the end of making the world a better place for all. Growing up in Brazil, Christiana watched her father’s work as an engineer positively impact her community.This interest has led Chrisitana to earn Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and eventually a PhD in Agricultural and Biological engineering from Purdue University. After receiving her PhD, Christiana worked for the US Army Core of Engineers on the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort: the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan in South Florida.

Today, Christiana works at Caterpillar as a mechanical engineer, designing and improving cooling systems for heavy mining machinery, as well as a working as an outreach coordinator for the local chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, where she’s working to solve one of the most important challenges of our workforce: getting more young women interested in STEM careers.

As the Outreach Co-Chair, along with Karen Raab, Christiana helps organize and participate in STEM Outreach Events for young women across Greater Peoria. Our committee is dedicated to inspiring girls to consider explore careers in engineering by providing free access to professional mentor networks through SWENext and scholarships to young women here in our region to help them pursue an engineering degree.

SWE also organizes and participates in many events throughout the year such as an Adopt-a-School Program with Lindbergh Middle School, Engineering Day at Peoria RiverFront Museum, The Launch at Hickory Grove Elementary School, Introduce a Girl to STEM Day (at Caterpillar), STEM BootCamp for High School Girls (Quest Academy), Exploring Manufacturing Day, and many others. SWE also has strong partnership with University of Illinois Extension’s 4H Group, and with GEMs (Girls Excelling in Math and Science), a program operating out of Morton Public Library.

To find out more about the work and resources of the Society Women of Engineers, their scholarship program, or how you can get involved, please email Christiana Aguirre here.

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