Inspire! Educational Video Collection

A photo of the Inspire Trailblazers.

Engineering remains one of the undergraduate majors with the smallest percentage of women in the United States. The percentage of women engineers in the workplace is even smaller. Inspire! is a collection of three educational videos with an accompanying discussion guide that will empower middle school and early high school girls to overcome obstacles facing girls and women in STEM fields, such as a lack of confidence and discouragement from others.

Each video features inspiring, real stories told by accomplished women engineers that contextualize and examine hurdles that girls and young women may face in the engineering field and offer strategies to overcome those hurdles. As we hear these stories, we see trailblazing women engineers serving as mentors and role models for the next generation of girls, as they embrace the excitement of an engineering education within the context of a summer camp at Clarkson University, a nationally recognized technological university with locations in Potsdam, Schenectady and Beacon, New York. 

The videos, and accompanying discussion guides, acknowledge structural challenges while encouraging middle school and early high school girls (at a time when their interest and confidence in the STEM fields often decreases) to develop resilience and understand potential obstacles they may face during their education and careers. The result is uplifting, relatable, authentic educational content that offers meaningful strategies to eliminate barriers for girls and women to enter and persist in engineering and related fields.

For a free hard copy of the video discussion guide please email Laura Ettinger. 

Inspire! Resources

Encourage! Leading Women Engineers Encourage the Next Generation

Leading women engineers encourage girls to do what they love, defy stereotypes, push through setbacks, and pursue engineering. (4:40 minutes)

View Resources for Encourage! Video

Motivate! Motivational Messages from Accomplished Women Engineers

Accomplished women engineers inspire young women and give them advice about their future careers and lives. (3:39 minutes)

View Resources for Motivate! Video

Educate! What is an Engineer? Perspectives of Trailblazing Women Engineers 

Trailblazing women engineers explain what engineering is and debunk myths about the field. (3:55 minutes)

View Resources for Educate! Video

The Inspire! Award-Winning Documentary

Our short documentary (19:18 minutes), Trailblazers: The Untold Stories of Six Women Engineers, which received an Award of Merit in The Impact DOCS Awards Competition, would be appropriate to use with older high school students.

A photo of the Impact Docs Merit award.

Trailblazers provides an overview of the project. It tells the stories of six trailblazing women engineers (the same women who are featured in the educational videos) as they share their experiences overcoming obstacles and paving the way for the next generation. We have not included discussion questions for Trailblazers but believe that the questions for the three short videos could be adapted for teachers, or student leaders, to use with our documentary. 

Watch and Download Trailblazers

About the Creators

Meet the Producer

Laura Ettinger is a Professor of History at Clarkson University, where she has been teaching since 1998. Originally from Baltimore, she received her A.B. from Vassar College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Rochester.

Laura Ettinger headshot

Laura’s research and writings focus on the history of women, gender, and the medical, scientific, and technological professions in the United States. Her book, Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession, was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is a co-Principal Investigator on an ongoing National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to create systemic changes to reduce bias and advance the careers of women STEM faculty.

The research project that led to this educational video series and documentary is funded by another National Science Foundation grant. Inspired by her teaching at a technological university, it focuses on trailblazing American women in engineering. Using her skills as an oral historian, Laura interviewed 47 women engineers who graduated from college in the 1970s.

Laura feels very grateful that these women were willing to share their stories with her. She believes in the power of their stories to inspire girls and young women to consider paths they might not have considered before and to feel less alone while doing so. Laura also believes that their stories will help us to understand how individual women in engineering have navigated the challenges they have encountered, and how institutions might work to address those challenges. 

Meet the Director

A headshot of Zac Miller.

Zac Miller began his career in 2005 getting his hands dirty on independent feature films in Boston. Since then Zac moved to LA and worked on Television shows, films, commercials, corporate videos, and web content for clients like CBS, ABC, 21st Century FOX, National Geographic, Diet Pepsi, HGTV, MTV and WGBH. He’s produced educational content for Harvard Medical School, The National Science Foundation and The US Department of Transportation.

In 2017 Zac quit his position as the production manager on CBS’s Big Brother and opened an independent production company called Uncommon Image Studios. He shoots high end content for diverse clients from local businesses to national brands. Zac also teaches video production at Clarkson University in New York State.

Zac’s won national awards for screenwriting, advertising, and directing. He used to be a proud IATSE union member (local 481) and is a current member of the Producer’s Guild of America.

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