DES MOINES, Iowa -- In his inauguration speech, Governor Branstad said building a highly skilled workforce was crucial to Iowa's future.
Often times however, STEM careers are typically pointed at men instead of young women.
One of those women is Laura Higgins, who was once terrified of the very creatures she now studies for a living.
"I was totally afraid of insects,” said Higgins.
After all, little girls are supposed to be afraid of bugs. Why would they want to learn anything about them?
Higgins turned her fear into a career.
Now one of her goals as an entomologist at Dupont Pioneer is to encourage little girls to think beyond the stereotypes and find their passion for science.
"It becomes obvious that they can do this too,” Higgins told Channel 13 News.
At the 4th annual Girls in Science Festival at the Science Center of Iowa, women from 25 different fields showed off careers young women can set their sights on.
Wise beyond her years, Sophie Hoffmeier, a sixth grade whiz kid in math and science is already dreaming big.
"I kind of want to be an RT when I grow up or a radiation therapist,” said Hoffmeier.
Before the career, Hoffmeier had some time Saturday to experiment with iPads play a few notes with carrot piano keys.
At the Science Center of Iowa Saturday was the next generation of scientists, engineers, maybe even entomologists.
The key is making sure they believe these careers are for them.
"They need to know they can do this. They can be someone who studies vocal chords or can be someone who studies insects,” Higgins told Channel 13 News.
On March 7th, the Science Center of Iowa is hosting a STEM event for high school girls.
It's called “Coffee and Careers”.
Registration for the event is free.