Creating equitable career opportunities for women is one way Xcel Energy is paving the path for future leaders in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). To further support this commitment, the company is once again sponsoring Girls & Science, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s and CBS4’s annual event that introduces STEAM professions to youth. Normally held at the museum, the program has transitioned to a virtual setting that will span the month of March. Register here.
By partnering with companies like Xcel Energy, the museum offers girls, boys and their families the opportunity to participate in family-friendly hands-on activities, explore occupations and meet women in STEAM fields, like Stacey Simms. Simms, this year’s Xcel Energy mentor, is a senior portfolio manager in EV Fleet Strategies where she is responsible for electric vehicle programs in the transportation sector, such as mass transit vehicles and fleets for businesses, communities, and other organizations.
“As a parent, I am always creating and searching for moments where my kids can learn about the ‘real world’ and to see how they can be themselves, build big dreams, work hard and stay true to their interests and passions – and that’s exactly what Girls & Science shows them,” says Simms, who holds a Master of Science degree in management from Regis University. “I am excited to be a part of this event and am honored to represent Xcel Energy.”
Rather than interacting with Girls & Science guests in person at the Xcel Energy clubhouse like in years past, Simms and other career mentors will work with kids and their families through live digital chats, on-demand virtual programs, and demonstrations all month long. Kids and their families can also participate in hands-on activities at home, such as Xcel Energy’s circuit activity, which they can download from the museum’s website.
“We're excited about the virtual format that takes place throughout March because folks will have more opportunities than ever to meet fascinating women STEAM professionals, try out cool careers, and roll up their sleeves for some fun activities,” Bower says. “Past attendees will find the things they love about the event still reflected in the virtual format. At the same time, the virtual format allows new participants who could not attend in person in the past to join in with us.”
Only one in four STEM jobs in the United States are held by women, according to the Women in STEM Workforce Index. And the goal of Girls & Science is to inspire kids’ curiosity and build their confidence to not only spark their interest in STEAM but also to maintain it.
“Research shows that girls’ interest in and confidence about engaging in STEAM disciplines drops significantly in upper elementary and middle school years,” explains Treloar Bower, the museum’s manager of program development. “The good news is that research also shows that intervention at this age can have positive impacts on these same girls.”
Girls & Science is one of Xcel Energy's largest sponsored events of the year and demonstrates how the company partners with organizations that promote STEAM and build diversity in our communities and workforce. In 2020, the Xcel Energy Foundation granted nearly $4 million to 501(c)(3) organizations across our service territories that align with one or more of our focus areas, including nearly $1.7 million for STEAM education.