Step 1

Engineering messages to share

Step 2

Engineering design process

Step 3

Leading STEM activities

Step 4

Be a role model


Be a role model

Anyone can be a Role Model: women, men, engineers, technicians, educators, and parents. Our Role Models are diverse. But they have one thing in common—the understanding that role models can inspire girls and boys from all communities and backgrounds and grow their interest and appreciation of STEM.

Why role models matter.

A role model plays a critical role in helping a child build their STEM identity. Research shows that role models can increase a student’s sense of belonging and build their confidence. They also represent what’s possible and give kids a chance to think about their future and who they want to be1.

As the engineering and technology community works to diversify the field, we all have an important role to play in reaching students of color, students with disabilities, rural and urban students, girls and boys, and getting them excited about the opportunities engineering and technology offers.

Role models in action

When LaTisha was a girl, she didn’t have any engineering role models that looked like her. She is on a mission to change that. Meet LaTisha and the group of young girls she works with at the Ivy Youth and Family Center.

Watch LaTisha

When Sarah was in 8th grade she went to her first “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” event at Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace). That was one of her first engineering experiences. In 2016, Sarah was an intern at Rockwell and stepped up to be a role model to young girls.

Watch Sarah


Shin, Jiyun; Levy, Sheri; London, Bonita. “Effects of role model exposure on STEM and non-STEM student engagement”. 2016/07/01. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.


Be yourself!

We often hear from teachers and afterschool leaders asking how they can be a STEM role model for their students. Our answer – being a role model is as simple as being yourself. Your willingness to share your enthusiasm, knowledge, and time will be recognized and appreciated.


Role model tips

  • Embrace a growth mindset. After leading an activity or talking to a group of students, ask yourself: What worked, what didn’t, and what you would do differently next time.
  • Be curious and respectful. Every child has different perspectives and experiences. As you are asking questions and listening, find ways to acknowledge and validate them by providing constructive, specific, and encouraging feedback.
  • Be student-centered. Resist the urge to fix a team’s design or give them specific instructions on how to get the right answer. When students drive their learning, they are more motivated and engaged.


Here’s what DiscoverE Role Models had to say about their experience:

  • 100% say volunteering was a good use of their time.
  • 84% say that volunteering with students reminds them of what they like about their chosen profession.
  • 96% of educators agree that meeting an engineer or technical professional is an important opportunity for their students.
  • 77% of STEM volunteers say that the students they work with came away with a better understanding of engineering.