Tori’s Story

My name is Tori and I am 13 years old and I have been a member of Girls Inc. since I was five years old. I want to be an architectural engineer. Girls Inc. has definitely influenced my career choice, beginning with the fact that they encourage me to think about having any job, not just jobs that are traditional for women. They tell me to do what I want and to be comfortable with it. They help me feel confident about my career choice.

Through Girls Inc., I went to Operation SMART (Science, Math, & Relevant technology) at College of Saint Mary from first grade through sixth grade. In Operation SMART, I learned that math can be fun and it helped me have a good attitude about math and math problems. That was a first step for a future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) career.

Tori Studying

Now I am in Eureka!, a STEM program that meets on the UNO campus. The “Engineering” part of Eureka! is definitely tied to my career choice. We had a speaker, a female architect, come talk to us and tell us about her job. She told us about majoring in architecture in college. She encouraged us to apply for scholarships to make college easier on our moms and so that we could avoid taking out loans that we would have to pay back. She told us about how she found her job and what she does on her job. She gave us a design activity to do and that just reinforced my decision to be an architect. I am interested in more than interior design. I am interested in a broad view of architectural engineering; I am very interested in how buildings are designed and what construction materials are used.

I know I want to go to college. I have learned at Girls Inc. that if I don’t go to college I won’t be able to make as much money and I don’t want to live like that. I want a good career. Eureka! is also giving me the opportunity to observe college classes in my field of interest and to go see what the dorms are like. When I go to UNO, I will already know where some of the classrooms are and I will already know some of the professors. It will make my transition to college easier because everything won’t be so new to me.

Ms. Candice [Girls Inc. program facilitator] has been a good influence on me. She tells me to do what I do best and don’t pay attention to any girls that get in the way of that. She tells me to “pick the right crowd” and to hang out with other girls who want to “do right,” too. She encourages me to be “strong, smart, and bold.” I have a lot of friends at Girls Inc. and that also makes the learning, and programs like Eureka!, fun for me.