I became a Girl Scout when I was 9 years old, and I was an active volunteer when my two daughters were Girl Scouts. In 2011, I was fortunate to join the board for Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and North Idaho, and I currently serve as first vice chair. I know firsthand the value that Girl Scouts provides to young women, and as the global digital marketing leader at Itron, I also understand what it’s like to be a woman in a STEM career.

Empowering the next generation of leaders is key to ensuring Itron’s mission of creating a more resourceful world. Itron is committed to partnering with organizations like Girl Scouts to help cultivate future leaders and innovators. Since today is International Women’s Day, it’s a great opportunity to highlight what you can do to support STEM careers for young women in our industry.

It is an uphill battle for women pursuing education and a career in STEM. Women make up half of the college-educated workforce, but are significantly underrepresented in STEM industries. Less than 8 percent of mechanical engineers are women and there are relatively few women in fields such as computer and mathematical sciences, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Because of these disparities, it can be intimidating for young women to pursue STEM. Often, opportunities in STEM fields are difficult to find, but by bringing resources directly to these girls, they can learn how fun and challenging it can be.  Through community partnerships and mentorship opportunities, girls are learning at a young age that they are capable and equipped to pursue careers in STEM.

Through our corporate headquarters in Liberty Lake, Washington, Itron is building a partnership with the Girl Scout Council to provide programs for girls interested in STEM. Since I am still active with Girl Scouts, it has been a privilege to help usher collaboration between Itron and Girl Scouts to bring STEM resources to girls in our community.

For example, Itron sponsored several Girl Scouts STEM nights at a local children’s science museum. The girls who attended were able to earn Space, Chemistry, Bugs, Robotics and Money badges. The event provided an opportunity for girls to get hands-on experience with leaders in the community.

Through events like this, mentorships between young women and leaders in STEM industries are forged. Mentorships are a huge component of lifting up the next generation of female leaders. Girl Scouts is incredible at providing mentors for girls, especially those who may not have opportunities that are easily accessible to others. Through Itron’s partnership with Girl Scouts, girls have opportunities to be mentored by amazing men and women in STEM careers.

By watching these young women and reflecting on my career, I know that if you put in the hard work, you can do anything. I have found so much joy working with Girl Scouts; they inspire me with their energy and their drive to become leaders, innovators, developers and activists. By investing time and putting forth effort, major change can happen. So today, let’s all make a commitment to encourage the people around us to succeed. Happy International Women’s Day.

Michelle Jung
Senior Digital Marketing Manager - Itron
Michelle has more than 30 years of experience in marketing leadership roles and currently heads up digital marketing at Itron, Inc. Michelle joined Itron in 2003 and brings expertise in web content management strategies, website platforms, and delivering business value through a variety of innovative marketing technologies. Prior to joining Itron, Michelle managed websites at a network security software start-up and a global telecommunications firm. Michelle has served on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and North Idaho since 2011.