Basin Electric employees share stories during Girls in STEM Day

Girls in STEM day

A representative from each team gets ready to launch their plane.

Representation matters. So when Basin Electric employees are given the chance to talk about how they got into their careers, they know the kind of encouragement it can give.

Missouri River Area Career and Technical Center, a program of the Missouri River Educational Cooperative, brought 8th graders on Dec. 5, 2018, from the surrounding area to Basin Electric Headquarters to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The visit was in coordination with Girls in STEM Day.

Girls in STEM day

Amanda Wangler, senior electrical engineer, talks to one of the groups.

Amanda Wangler, senior electric engineer, Kelby Hovey, pilot/safety officer, and LaDonna Carpenter, support center supervisor, told the students about their jobs and how they got started in their careers.

Wangler told the students about the wide range of career options open to electrical engineers – software, power plants, utilities, even working with a company like Target to design their lighting system. She talked with them about the differences in her career when she moved into a project management role. “One of my most important qualities is that I’m stubborn. One of the students asked if I ever felt like quitting while I was going to school. I told her, ‘of course, but you can be the person who works hard and doesn’t quit.’”

Girls in STEM day

Testing flight.

Hovey explained to the students that her flying career began by networking at the local airport. She interned at Basin Electric, and took on several flying jobs before entering Army flight school. She says pilots rarely think of corporate flying as an option, but she loves the variety. “Every day, my job is a little different. I might fly a plane full of employees to Wheatland for a day at Laramie River Station, and the next day an inspector along our pipeline,” she says. “Also, every day I’m flying, it’s a sunny day. It’s always sunny above the clouds.”

Carpenter’s career path took a couple twists and turns. She thought she wanted a career in theater, but a few enjoyable computer courses in college earned her a jump on the job she has today. “I was recruited by Microsoft to work in Seattle for several years, which was an amazing opportunity,” she says. “I had spent time at Great Plains Software, supporting Microsoft products and they noticed my helpful nature. To work at the help desk here, you need customer service experience and a couple of years of experience in technology. It can be a great career on its own, or a stepping-stone to something more.”

After listening to the three women and asking questions, the students did a group activity coordinated by Erin Huntimer, project coordinations representative. They formed teams to build the farthest-flying paper airplane they could. They launched their flyers from an atrium skybridge in Basin Electric Headquarters to name the winners.

Girls in STEM day

Paper airplanes launched in the atrium at Basin Electric headquarters.

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