All aspects of engineering explored at recent iCan! event

All aspects of engineering explored at recent iCan! event

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Jessica Gressett (center, glasses) works with a group of Forest High School students at the iCan! Girls In Engineering event April 8.
Jessica Gressett (center, glasses) works with a group of Forest High School students at the iCan! Girls In Engineering event April 8.
This week a group of female math and science students from Forest High School learned they can not only be engineers, but they can have fun doing it.

The Mississippi Power sponsored iCan! Girls In Engineering event brought together students who might want to become engineers with women who’ve made it in that lucrative field.

Women like Jessica Gressett, who’s currently an engineer at the company’s Kemper County energy facility.

“I have now attended two iCan events, and I really wish that a program like this had been in place when I was a ninth grader,” said Gressett. “I think that sometimes girls are led to believe that they can only pursue ‘women’ careers and not the ones dominated by males.”

Distribution Engineer Samantha Prine is a regular at these events, and says watching her mother work as a successful engineer was all the encouragement she needed to embark on a similar career path.

“In school I was very good at math and science, and I love helping others,” Prine said. “My mom made sure I knew about the engineering opportunities out there. Luckily she encouraged the idea, because typically only teaching and nursing is encouraged to girls with these interests.”

The iCan! experience gives students a chance to discover fun, interactive examples of chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering. Turning ordinary products into lip gloss and racing toy cars are just a few examples of how instructors relay the engineering message to these young women.

“This program is all about empowering young women to believe in their abilities and breaking the gender-role barriers of the past,” added Gressett. “I became interested in engineering because my parents encouraged me to, and I am so glad they did.”

The event was covered by WTOK in Meridian. That story can be viewed here.