“I am proud to be a Girl Scout,” stated NiSource Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President Violet Sistovaris, as she welcomed 100 Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Girl Scouts to NIPSCO and NiSource Corporate Headquarters on February 18, in celebration of National Engineers Week. The three hour event featured various activities introducing the girls to the field of engineering, along with allowing the Scouts one-on-one time with professionals in the business, as a part of DAWN’s (Developing and Advancing Women in NiSource) mission to build the next generation of female leaders. “This is an opportunity for the girls to learn a lot more about the exciting field of engineering and how it applies to our life.”
“We’re very excited to get young girls interested in engineering,” shared Vicki King, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “There’s nothing more engaging for a young girl than to see a woman who has achieved success.” For the opening project, each group of Scouts was paired with a NIPSCO engineer and given a bag of items in order to build something that will hold a bag of Hershey kisses. The rules were that the girls had to use all of the items in the bag and the final product had to be 8 inches tall.
With creative juices flowing, the girls grouped together and began building unique creations, under the guidance of their engineer. “It’s really fun,” shared Madison Pearson, a Junior Scout from Griffith. “The most exciting part is getting to see if what we create works.” Morgan Fornaciani, a Brownie also from Griffith, stated that the hardest part of the project was “trying to think how to do it.” Being a Girl Scout helps in this endeavor because “you work together to build it.”
The finished products were then judged to win awards for the most creative, the most original, and more. “We’re trying to make this experience as fun and energetic as we can,” stated Nick Meyer, Director of External Communications at NIPSCO. The Scouts then toured the facility, learning how electricity is generated, how gas is moved, all in the efforts of sparking an interest in engineering. “This is a really important field to be in,” shared Carrie Hightman, NiSource Chief Legal Officer. “It requires problem solving, imagination…who better than all of the Girl Scouts?”
The turnout for the day was incredible, as the number of girls interested in learning about engineering exceeded original expectations of 50. “We have 18 girls in our troop; every one showed up!” said Vickie Livingston, a troop leader from Lowell. “They were so excited,” she went on to say, sharing how her girls showed up ready to go at 6:30 am, as they didn’t want to miss out on this event. The event was capped at 100 Scouts but troop leaders hope NiSource will host a similar event in the future. “We will be back!” Livingston promised.
“We cannot thank NiSource enough for hosting this event,” King stated. “This experience is invaluable…for a day, they are an engineer!”