Employee Case Study

Our team at Mission Systems took the opportunity of a NASA visit to encourage local female high school students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, only 8.3% of electrical and electronic engineers are female. And research by Women into Science and Engineering says that only 13% of employees in STEM careers are women. The Nasa visit was seen as a great opportunity to inspire more young women to pursue a STEM career and to help close the gender gap in our industry.



This initiative was supported by our North American Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is committed to closing the gender gap in innovation throughout the entire industry, especially since the number of people graduating with science and engineering qualifications in the countries where Cobham operates is in decline.


Cobham challenged local female high school students to answer the question, 'What would you do if you were the first human explorer to visit Mars?' Six winners of the Launch your Imagination to Mars challenge were honoured during the NASA visit with cash prizes and the chance to meet Drs. Thomas and Cobb, as well as female STEM employees at the Orchard Park site.



Dreaming of Mars


NASA's Space Launch System Education and Public Outreach lead, Shannon Raleigh, was full of praise for the initiative. 'It was very inspiring to encourage the 'next generation',' she told those present.  Dr. Cobb pointed out that, 'It is opportunities like this that provide a future workforce that has the skills and diversity we need to build and fly the vehicles that will take the next generation of explorers on the journey to Mars.'


Strengthening the industry


Orchard Park Senior HR Director, Elizabeth Cipolla, identified the current STEM trend as not just a lost opportunity for young female graduates, but also a danger for established industries, saying, 'The pursuit of more diversity within our talent pool of STEM professionals is necessary for our company to stay competitive, and push the boundaries of innovation. Since 2010, Cobham has been developing young STEM talent in our Graduate Development Programme. Now, we are focusing on programmes aimed at developing diverse talent during children's first years at school.'


For the high school competition winners, the day provided a variety of benefits.


Mairead Farrell of Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart said, 'I found the Cobham Women in STEM panel discussion to be really beneficial because it allowed me to hear women's opinions about STEM fields; the opportunities as well as the real world obstacles. The entire experience solidified my desire to work in a STEM field.'


Samantha Zilliox, from the same high school, said, 'The Cobham STEM Challenge helped me understand what opportunities exist for Aerospace and Mechanical Engineers right here in the Buffalo area, as well opened my eyes to the broader picture of space travel that so many people around the country are involved in.'


City Honors School student Eden Donelli 'enjoyed the experience very much', adding that it was exciting 'to meet a former astronaut and it made the journey to space seem much more achievable. It was interesting to see the facilities at Cobham and also find out about the procedures the company uses to do what it does.'

Do PostBack