HOUSTON - A Houston engineer who is fired up about her job is trying to get kids just as excited in this Positively Houston.
I’ve actually been saying I wanted to be a TV news journalist since meeting one in third grade and that’s exactly the career influence Engineer Erika Anderson hopes she’s being.
"Engineering feeds my wallet but STEM outreach feeds my soul. I wouldn’t be able to survive if I didn’t do this. This is my purpose," smiles Anderson who is an ExxonMobil Reliability Engineer.
Believe it or not Engineering wasn’t her dream job when she was growing up.
"I didn’t know what an engineer was until my senior year in high school. I thought an engineer was a train driver," So she’s determined to tell as many little ears that will listen, particularly girls and minorities, how awesome this profession is.
"Research shows when you engage students in those activities early, you help in their development, and they’re more likely to pursue those careers. I want to see more diversity because I know when you put a diverse team together you’re going to get some of your greatest ideas."
Anderson speaks to girls groups, schools and pays virtual visits lately, in hopes of inspiring future engineers. She’s been with ExxonMobil six years and is a stand out in her industry. Named an American Association for the Advancement of Science "If Then" Ambassador, she even has her own statue.
"I did get a chance to see statue Erika and it was pretty cool standing next to myself. This is a program that is designed for women in STEM. They selected 125 of us. We were picked to be role models for girls because the idea is "if" she can see it "then" she can be it. When this exhibit comes out, it’ll be the largest statue exhibit of women in one place at one time."
The "If, Then STEM Innovators" exhibit is set to display in Dallas this spring.
Even if Anderson can’t convince you to become an Engineer, she hopes you’ll remember the importance of another word that's important to her that starts with an "E", education.
"My parents taught me to value education because it’s the one thing that no one can take from you and even if you lose everything else your knowledge will help you get it back. Neither of my parents finished college and that was another big drive for me".