November 20, 2020

Hi Marley Speaks with Software Engineer Amanda Pennie in Honor of STEAM Day 2020

Each year, November 8 is recognized as STEAM Day, honoring and encouraging learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. It’s also is a perfect time to acknowledge innovations of the past and teach younger generations the importance of STEAM education.

At Hi Marley, our technology teams are continuously making our platform more indispensable with innovative customer-focused product features. In honor of STEAM Day, we recently spoke with one of those team members, Software Engineer Amanda Pennie, to get her thoughts on STEAM education, engineering at Hi Marley and how children can get involved and develop an early interest in STEAM.

HM: Why do you think STEAM education is so important?

Amanda: STEAM education teaches beyond just science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It instills essential life skills like curiosity, problem-solving, creativity and teamwork. It also encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and use creativity to solve real-world problems faced every day.

HM: A 2019 study found that just 13 percent of engineers are female.[1] How have you successfully grown as a female engineer in a male-dominant industry?

Amanda: My interest in technology drew me toward a field where I am improving and finding success doing so. Being involved in engineering at Hi Marley has encouraged me to be a better version of myself – to speak up in a room (or on a Zoom call) when I want my voice to be heard and to hire amazing female engineers to work alongside. I can truly say I work at a company where I can bring my whole self to work and make a difference, regardless of how many men are in the room. And my love of technology has absolutely propelled my confidence and fueled my drive. I encourage young women and girls to explore STEAM subjects.

HM: STEAM is a newer term replacing STEM to include art. In terms of a career, how can the arts fit in with technology?

Amanda: These interest areas work together beautifully. We have engineers who work specifically on product design and they have that awesome combination of technology and design expertise. One of my colleagues at Hi Marley is a product designer but also is a children’s book illustrator.

HM: Do you have any words to encourage children to go into STEAM fields?

Amanda: Something I hear quite often is, “I’m not good at math or science. I could never do what you do.” But just like any other job, skills and knowledge take practice. You truly don’t know if you’re good at something until you try it, so I think getting involved and picking up a fun project that piques your interest is the first step. Then, continue to pursue projects with enthusiasm, and remember that failure is a good thing. It’s how you grow and learn. 

Thanks to Amanda for sharing some of the reasons why she believes in STEAM education. To learn more, check out some of the resources below:

[1] SWE Research Update: Women in Engineering by the Numbers, 2019

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