Erin Mitchell says her mission is to inspire young girls to careers in engineering.
As an engineer herself, Mitchell said she knows her presence carries special weight, which is why she has dedicated much of her time and energy as serving as a mentor to girls.
“Building community and sparking friendships with other women is how I found my place and started to build my confidence, so I’ve taken that into my work,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell graduated from Iowa State University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and an M.B.A. During college, she spent three summers interning for Collins Aerospace and, upon graduation, took a full-time position there as an industrial engineer.
Collins Aerospace’s rotation program has taken Mitchell from Cedar Rapids to North Carolina to Melbourne, Fla., where she now works as an engineer in the area of new product introduction.
Even as her young engineering career is blossoming, Mitchell said her proudest achievements occur outside of work, through her efforts to get more girls and young women involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
One of those efforts is FIRST Robotics.
Mitchell became involved with the competitive science and technology program when she participated as a high school student. Since then, she has served as a coach, mentor and volunteer with FIRST Robotics teams at all age levels, including nine teams across Eastern Iowa and now a team in Florida.
She also has volunteered at FIRST tournaments around the country in many capacities, including tournament director, judge and referee.
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“FIRST Robotics led me to engineering,” she said. “I love being able to give back and see the passion develop in others.”
Mitchell also co-founded EngiGirl, an organization dedicated to providing hands-on STEM experiences to girls in grades K-5, and has mentored young people through her volunteer work with NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids and the Society of Women Engineers.
She currently serves on the team of Reinvented Magazine, a not-for-profit organization that has created the nation’s first print magazine geared toward high school and college women in STEM.
“We highlight women in STEM from everyday change makers to historical figures,” she said. “We’ve donated over 3,000 print copies of the magazine to libraries, schools and girls clubs around the country for low-income girls and those without internet access.”
From traveling back to Iowa on weekends to volunteer with the robotics program at Iowa State University to promoting “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” within her company, Mitchell said her busy schedule helps to further her mission.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” she said. “I’m trying to be as visible as I can to young girls.”
Business 380 spotlights HER magazine’s Women of Achievement, published by The Gazette. The awards were sponsored by Farmers State Bank.
02:59PM | Tue, June 23, 2020
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