Priya Boyington spoke at the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy on Thursday morning.
Ms. Boyington, a GPS and GA Tech graduate, is employed at management consulting firm Bain, which gives employees the opportunity to do a six-month externship. She is currently doing hers in California at Toymaker GoldieBlox who is creating toys for girls to encourage them to conside engineering. Their core message, which is to inspire the next generation of inventors is being communicated across the country.
The GoldieBlox mission is to also give young girls toy options outside the traditional choices. But Ms. Boyington is quick to say the GoldieBlox team is not "anti-princess," but GoldieBlox is about letting girls know they can be anything they want when they grow up.
"We want to make sure that girls have construction building tools that give them their spatial skills," she said.
The child of two engineers, Ms. Boyington was in high school, a teacher encouraged her to follow her talents. She had a knack for science and math and eventually went to Georgia Tech to study industrial engineering.
Georgia Tech is dedicated to recruiting females to the program, however Ms. Boyington estimated that less than 30 percent of the students were female when she was in school.
There were times when she was the only woman in a class and experience at GPS as an all-girls school prepared her to handle this. In 2011, women earned 18.4 percent of engineering bachelor's degree in the country, according to the American Society for Engineering Education. That's slightly up from the 2010 numbers.
The percentage of females getting master's degrees in engineering was 22.6 percent in 2011, and doctoral degrees in the field decreased by 1 percent. And according to 2012 statistics from the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, only 14 percent of engineers were women in 2009.
Ms. Boyington spoke to students at CLGA regarding her decision to choose engineering and on her experience at GoldieBlox.