WIIT Georgetown Chapter Inspires Next Generation of Women in STEM

Georgetown, KY
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Just a short drive down the road from Toyota’s Georgetown plant in Kentucky (TMMK), young women students at Elkhorn Crossing School are well-aware of the impact of Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility in the world. But on this spring day, these students had the unique opportunity to engage with Toyota team members in a more personal way.

The “Spring Spectacular” is organized annually by the Georgetown chapter of WIIT (Women Influencing and Impacting Toyota), a Toyota Business Partnering Group (BPG), each year with a different theme and goal. In 2023, the theme was STEM Carnival, an educational event in partnership with the Elkhorn Crossing School and the school’s club SWENext (Society of Women Engineers). With various STEM activities, women students learned about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, helping fuel a passion and excitement for their future aspirations.

Ava Ruppert, Senior Engineer of Assembly and then WIIT Community Outreach Chair, said: "Our goal with the STEM Carnival was to create an interactive and engaging platform where young women can explore the diverse opportunities available in STEM fields. We aimed to inspire and empower the next generation of female leaders in STEM."

The event drew 50 enthusiastic women students from Elkhorn Crossing School, eager to explore the world of STEM. Supported by twenty dedicated Toyota team members, including WIIT members and volunteers from TMMK Quality and Powertrain, TMNA Environmental and Sustainability, Safety, Assembly, Vehicle Project Engineering, Body, and more, the STEM Carnival offered a unique opportunity for hands-on learning and exploration.


Students rotated through eight themed booths, each offering a glimpse into different STEM disciplines. From mechanical and industrial engineering to biomedical engineering and environmental engineering, the booths provided a diverse and immersive experience, sparking curiosity and excitement among the participants:

  1. BYOC – Build Your Own Circuit: Learn the fundamentals of electronics and electrical engineering concepts.
  2. Shoot Your Shot!: Learn about mechanical engineering principles by building a catapult and competing for a prize!
  3. Environmental Sustainability: How can we preserve the earth’s natural resources for our future generations?
  4. It’s in Your DNA: Learn about biomedical engineering principles by extracting DNA out of a strawberry!
  5. Powertrain PE Dojo: IAI Robocylinder & Christmas light programming.
  6. Presentations That Pop!: How to use colors and fonts in design.
  7. Taste of Science: Play with your food and eat it, too!
  8. UK Lift Them Up Cart: Learn about project management, team collaboration, and problem solving.

Reflecting on the impact of the event, Ruppert said, "Witnessing the enthusiasm and curiosity of these young women was truly inspiring. They were eager to learn, explore, and discover the endless possibilities that STEM has to offer."

As the demand for STEM professionals continues to rise, particularly in fields like engineering and technology, initiatives like the STEM Carnival play a role in shaping the workforce of tomorrow. According to recent projections, women are expected to represent nearly half of the total workforce by 2025, highlighting the importance of empowering young women to pursue careers in STEM.


Ruppert added: “The STEM Carnival exemplifies Toyota's commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workforce. By exposing young women to STEM at an early age, we hope to break down barriers and pave the way for a future where women are equally represented in STEM fields."

For many of these students, the Spring Spectacular event was more than just a day of fun and learning—it was a glimpse into a future filled with endless opportunities. As they interacted with women leaders from Toyota, they saw firsthand what it meant to pursue their passions and break barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields.

The students left the STEM Carnival with a renewed sense of confidence and determination. Inspired by the women they met and the experiences they shared, they were ready to embark on their own journeys toward success in STEM.