Don’t talk to girls about STEM, they need to see it in action
December 20, 2019
When Leanne Huynh was at university, she was one of just two females in a class of 40 students. Now, an application development associate at Accenture, Leanne says it’s not enough to tell girls to pursue a career in STEM, the key is getting girls interested in science and technology to show them what they can do with it.
The first time I really appreciated just how wide and creative a career in STEM could be was at the Accenture Tech Bootcamp. I was in the final year of my double degree in engineering and commerce and when I approached Accenture they suggested I attend the Tech Bootcamp as a pathway to employment.
At Tech Bootcamp, everyone who was in my team was a university graduate, like me. Everyone wanted to make an impression, but I think we also wanted to experience what it would be like to work in technology and for Accenture.
It’s not until you get into a company that you really get to experience the culture and the values and the particular way it operates.
Tech Bootcamp was unlike any interview I have ever been to! To begin with, I learnt a lot, and I didn’t realise it would be so much fun.
myWizard AIOps at Accenture Open Day where we spoke to
university students about what we do!
Over the four days we were given a real world business case to work on. Ours was to create a way to tokenise Asian language in code. Problem was, we only had one computer science guy in the team! So we decided to split up the tasks – one person researched machine learning, some worked on developing the use cases and some worked on how we would present our work, and so on.
I think everyone on my team has gone on to work at Accenture!
When I was at university, STEM was definitely male dominated, but for a woman in STEM, Accenture is great. It’s more gender balanced, and women are given the opportunity to develop their skills in areas that interest them.
Accenture has a strong culture of nurturing learning. I wanted to learn coding and they facilitated that; I wanted to learn more frontend development, so they supported that too.
We went to Yarra Valley for wine and chocolate tasting as part of the
Associate Academy Training
I also helped out on Accenture’s Girls in STEM initiative, which is a program aimed at getting girls interested in science and technology, not by just telling them how great it is, but by showing them the amazing ways it can be applied.
As part of the initiative, high school girls came in and participated in half-day workshops. We also invited vendors and university groups to come in and they showed the girls a racing car they created from sustainable materials, and they got to try out virtual reality headsets. The girls were really excited and inspired.
I understand this completely. I started out studying traditional finance, I never even considered doing the work I do now. But once I was given my first business case, and began working on teams to create solutions, I knew this was for me.
Working with other women in STEM is great, and hopefully more people will get to experience that, as we present STEM to female innovators of the future.
Accenture Tech Bootcamp is a great environment for women in STEM, because you have the opportunity to work with the Accenture mentors, and other future innovators, solving real world problems.
Some of the volunteers at the Girls in STEM event at Accenture