Working to prepare students for the future of manufacturing

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – 16-year-old Katie Hesson says she wants to help as many people as she can, so she’s decided to become a chemical engineer. Hesson will be moving into a career less than one-third of women in the workforce participate in, according to the National Science Foundation.

“I’m just a small-town girl; I’m from Prichard,” Hesson said. “I really know what I want.”

Hesson is one of the leaders helping 125 7th and 8th graders from Cabell and Putnam Counties in the “Explore the New Manufacturing” academy hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington. If there’s one thing that gets Hesson excited, it’s this.

“Engineering just spoke to me,” Hesson said. “It was almost magnetic. I just really love it.”

Lindsey Workman is in 8th grade at George Washington Middle School. Workman says listening to the local manufacturers and working with her classmates on projects today actually made her consider engineering and manufacturing for her future.

“I thought it was pretty cool how they get to engineer and make 3D printing stuff,” Workman said.

Program organizers say they have technology and manufacturing events like this to show students they don’t have to leave the state to find a quality career path.

“I think women, they can do anything a man can,” Workman said. “I think it would be great to have more women in engineering because it is a great opportunity for life.”

Advances in technology, raising the next generation on the possibilities of what can be.

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