Introduce a Girl to Engineering

Inspiring Young Women

On April 23, 2018, Tata & Howard hosted an Introduce a Girl to Engineering event. Thirty-four junior girl scouts (from grades 4-5) from five local troops attended our interactive and informative overview of environmental engineering.

Women engineers from the company were eager to welcome the scouts. They know from experience how important it is to inspire young girls and get them excited about a successful career in engineering. They also know the challenges women often face in the field of engineering long known to be male-dominated.

Slowly, however, this trend is beginning to change, as more young women are earning engineering degrees.

Girls scouts groupTwenty-five years ago, when Tata & Howard was a newly established company, graduating classes from engineering schools may have been 1-2 percent women. As recently as 2016, about 20 percent of graduating engineers were female, and today, Tata & Howard stands out in the Water and Wastewater industry out as a 100% employee-owned company, led by two women co-president engineers, and 38 percent of its workforce being female engineers.

These women engineers are the future role models and inspiration for young girls. On this night, they were excited to share their experiences with the girl scouts and tell them what it is like to be an environmental engineer in the water and wastewater industry.

Their excitement was unmistakable.

We presented a colorful slideshow illustrating how clean water is delivered to our homes—starting from groundwater or surface water sources and pumped through pipes to a water treatment facility. The water treatment process was shown with a simple water filtration demonstration, screening dirty water with both coarse rocks and a coffee filter.  After going through a treatment process, it was explained that clean water is then stored in tanks and eventually ends up in the pipes that lead to our homes—and any place where we can turn on the tap and drink water.

The presentation was followed by questions, answers, and everyone’s favorite…pizza. The girls were then divided into seven teams and instructed to build a freestanding water tank using only a handful of ordinary items, such as a plastic cup (the tank), drinking straws, bubble gum, band aids, string, thumbtacks, string, paper clips, and toothpicks.  The challenge lasted 30 minutes, after which, 8 ounces of water was poured into the water tank creations to test for structural integrity and left to stand for 30 seconds without spilling any liquid.

Girl Day Water Tank Instructions

Lots of excitement and fun ensued as the water towers wobbled, leaked and finally toppled into a watery mess! Not all the tanks collapsed however. A few withstood the water test challenge and a winning team emerged—the Llamacorns—who built a tower standing tall at 11 ¼”. The Greatest Kitty Cookie team came in a close second with a 9 ½” tall structure.

Before leaving for the evening, each scout was presented with a certificate and a merit badge. Many thanks to all the Tata & Howard women volunteers who helped make Introduce a Girl to Engineering a memorable and enjoyable event for these young girls.

And hopefully…the girls also left with a greater appreciation and enthusiasm about pursuing a career in engineering.

Team Results:

Double Bubble – 8 ¼” Collapsed
The River & the Sky – 16 ½” Collapsed
Beautifully Disgusting – 6 ½” Leaked
Llamacorns – 11 ¼” Winning team!
The Greatest Kitty Challenge – 9 ½” – Second Place
Royalty – 11 ½” Collapsed
Water Dogs – 4 ¾” Leaked


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