What a young girl can learn from Utah women about STEM education and careers

Published: Tuesday, July 15 2014 6:00 a.m. MDT

“Mechanical engineering allowed me to do creative (things) and design products,” Trego said. “But it also included a lot more science and math.”

It was during her undergraduate collegiate studies, however, that she began to notice the low number of women who were pursuing technology- and science-oriented education.

“I was either the only girl or there was one other girl in my class that was also in mechanical engineering,” she said. By the time she went to graduate school, she was typically the only female in the class, she said.

She was undeterred, and her competitive nature pushed her to prove herself equal to her male counterparts.

That drive has stoked her passion to expose more young females to the many opportunities that exist today through STEM education.

“There are a lot of areas in STEM where you don’t have to be great at math, but you have to be able to do math,” Trego said. “Not everyone has to take and pass differential equations.”

She said developing curriculum that shows students the “fun” and creative aspects of technology would aid greatly in getting more young girls and boys interested in STEM fields.

“If it's not fun, then they are not going to do it,” she said.

She is currently working with Women Tech Council — a nonprofit organization focusing on women in the technology sector collaborating to build, innovate and mentor each other to advance their careers.

She said one of her goals is to create more awareness and opportunities for women to network with other women and men in STEM fields.

“Showing industry that there are other options (and) other possibilities, so let's make sure to be open-minded about that,” Trego said.

Carine Clark

Carine Clark, 51, is one of the few women to break through the glass ceiling and into the boardroom.

The Utah County mother of two boys is a former senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Symantec. In addition, she was an executive at Altiris and Novell. Currently, she is the president and CEO of Allegiance Software — a South Jordan-based data analytics firm.

Clark received a master’s degree in business administration as well as a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from BYU. Clark said she is supportive of guiding more women into the tech sector by encouraging young girls into STEM.

“They have more opportunity if they stay in those disciplines,” she said, adding that she would like to provide a positive role model for young Utah women who aspire to become leaders in technology.

“I want to make sure that women aren’t stopping themselves (from potential success),” she said.

Clark said that while she is often the only female executive in her workplace environment, she has never let it be an obstacle to her career goals despite having to overcome some challenges along the way.

“I went to an event and there were no women there. People asked me, 'Whose wife are you? Who is your husband?' It's disheartening — because I was there on my own credentials as a CEO,” Clark said. “So the challenge is not to be bugged — but to face it head on and just try to be funny. I say, 'My husband's name is Bryan, but I'm actually the CEO of a technology company.'"

Sometimes when she explains that she is the CEO, people say, “'Oh, did you start the company?' Like that's the only way I could be CEO,” Clark said.