MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - It is no surprise more men pursue STEM related careers but XTO Energy is hoping to inspire the next generation.
It is called Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. The organizers of the event say they hope to increase the less than 20 percent of women that get engineering degrees.
"You can do engineering too, just like your brothers or your dads or your uncles," said XTO Energy Operations Engineer, Rykki Tepe.
More than 30 girls, from schools all over Midland and Odessa, brought together to ignite their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"I can use all of my math skills and some of my science skills in engineering," said Jessica Olague, a Crockett Middle School student.
"Honestly, it was something brand new. It seems pretty interesting," said another student.
"It's really important that we start young at the middle school age and start talking about engineering and start talking about STEM and math and science and really educating the girls on the opportunities that are provided in the STEM fields," said Tepe.
The National Girls Collaborative Project finds statistically female and male students perform equally well in math and science on standardized tests, but when pursuing higher education, less women are going after STEM related degrees.
Women earn 43.1 percent of math degrees, 39 percent of physical science, just 19.3 percent of engineering degrees and 17.9 percent of computer science degrees.
The students divided up in teams and did hands-on experiments, like learning how polar and non-polar liquids react when mixed. But what might be most important, they talked with actual engineers to get an idea of what the job is really like.
"I like all the ideas you can do with engineering," said a student.
"My dad works in the oilfield. I didn't really know what he did. I thought he just pumped gas out," said Olague.
Organizers say it's also important for parents to get involved. You can encourage your child by finding them a mentor, especially as they get to high school and begin preparing for college.