Girls & Manufacturing Summit inspires middle and high school girls

Girls & Manufacturing Summit inspires middle and high school girls

Girls & Manufacturing Summit inspires middle and high school girls

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – October 23, 2019 – Nearly 100 middle and high school girls from around the state gained new insight into manufacturing and future career options at the 6th annual Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit held Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

The unique event for girls focused on careers and educational programs in manufacturing through exhibits, team-based workshops that replicated the manufacturing process, and interactive activities using new technologies such as 3-D printing, rapid prototyping technology, and augmented reality.

“Events like the Girl’s Summit are so important because they shed new opportunities on the girls. A lot of this is new information to them and it really broadens their horizons for what they can do in the future,” said Dr. Selena Morgan, executive director of elementary schools at Bridgeport Public Schools. There were nine schools from Bridgeport present.

The Girls Summit was presented by Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) in partnership with Sacred Heart University (SHU).  It was held at the university’s West Campus MakerSpace, an 11,000-square-foot prototyping lab for digital fabrication and advanced manufacturing.

“The MakerSpace puts the university at the forefront of training students on advanced digital manufacturing technology,” said Tolga Kaya, director of engineering and associate professor of engineering, SHU. “CCAT’s mission fits right in with our vision and we were extremely excited to collaborate and host their event to showcase the ever-evolving technological world to middle and high school girls.”

According to a 2017 Deloitte study of women in manufacturing, women comprise 47 percent of the general U.S. labor force, but only 29 percent are in manufacturing jobs.

“Young women need to be exposed to non-traditional jobs,” said Rhonda Leonard, lead engine mechanic, Pratt & Whitney. “I love to work with my hands, but I never knew I would end up as a jet engine mechanic, but I did know that I wasn’t cut out to be a secretary. I wanted to do something extraordinary.” Leonard served as an Industry Ambassador for the day, one of four leading women in the industry assigned to each group in order to connect with the students during their activities, offering advice and sharing their experiences in the field.

One student from Fairchild Wheeler Magnet High School in Bridgeport reflected on the Summit afterwards saying, “I liked the fact that we participated in hands-on activities that allowed us to work together. I also enjoyed meeting people who have made a career out of manufacturing.”

“Engaging events like the Girls Summit are vital to inspire young girls to consider making manufacturing their future and help increase the number of women in the industry,” said Alyce Stiles, associate director, experiential STEM education, CCAT.

Connecticut. Dream It. Do It., funded by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, has impacted thousands of students through the many innovative activities, like the Girls Summit, which we run in partnership with manufacturers, schools and organizations statewide,” stated Stiles.


About Connecticut. Dream It. Do It.

Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is part of The Manufacturing Institute’s nationwide effort to create a positive image of manufacturing today and to develop an awareness of the variety of rewarding career opportunities it offers. Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is taking the lead in enhancing Connecticut’s current and future manufacturing workforce pipeline. Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) licenses and leads Connecticut. Dream It. Do It.  Learn more at

About CCAT

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., that creates and executes bold ideas advancing applied technologies, energy solutions, STEM education and career development, and export and cyber compliance. By leading state, regional, and national partnerships, CCAT helps manufacturers, academia, government and nonprofit organizations excel. Learn more at or follow CCAT on Twitter – @CCATInc.

About Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University (SHU) is a coeducational, independent, comprehensive institution of higher learning rooted in the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition (CIT). Founded in 1963,  It is the second-largest Catholic university in New England and is considered an international leader in Catholic higher education. Inspired by the ecumenical spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the University works to prepare its students to live in and make their contributions to the human community. Learn more at