BAE Systems WiT Logo with circuit board

Longtime PWCS partner BAE Systems in Manassas is ensuring students don't miss out on the annual Women in Technology (WiT) program by offering it virtually for 2021. This year's program was shortened to eight weeks, but continued to provide 17 PWCS high school female students a hands-on look at engineering disciplines like mechanical, electrical, and systems engineering, along with computer programming and other skills. Students from surrounding counties and private schools are also participating.

2021 PWCS WiT participants include:

Lauren Bailey - Patriot High School
Erin Dougherty - Battlefield High School
Jennine Faruque - Osbourn Park High School
Maisha Farzana - Osbourn Park High School
Katherine Fowler - Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School
Vasundhara Gatne - Osbourn Park High School
Ming Harrison - Osbourn Park High School
Grace Henderson - Battlefield High School
Alexandra Huszcza - Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School
Jasmine Mendez - Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School
Valery Moreno Mena - Unity Reed High School
Aditi Mukul - Battlefield High School
Anika Mukul - Battlefield High School
Cynthia Nguyen - Patriot High School
Akshita Ramesh - Battlefield High School
Sejal Sharma - Osbourn Park High School
Melinda Wong - Patriot High School

Jennifer Koehler, BAE Systems senior principle electrical engineer, coordinates and leads the WiT program. The students met virtually once a week , where sessions included everything from 3-D printing and building an electrical circuit, to creating a working POD for life on Mars.

Other rotations include resume-writing and building skills in communication and public speaking. Another primary goal of WiT is providing mentorship to female students in their pursuit of technical careers.

"I applied to the WIT program from BAE because it was an amazing opportunity to get experience with different aspects of the field of which I want to pursue," shared Ming Harrison, a senior at Osbourn Park High School. "It is also an opportunity to work with an amazing group of women in the area of which I would like to pursue."

Harrison has found this year's virtual WiT program to be engaging and educational. After one session, she created her own electrical circuit that plays music.

Watch and listen to Harrison's circuit board play a song

Erin Dougherty, a junior at Battlefield High School, applied to BAE's WiT program to "open her eyes" to some potential STEM-related career opportunities.

"The program is taking place virtually this year, but still we've been able to do these things from home and work on interactive projects over Zoom, helping us strengthen our communication skills as well," shared Dougherty.

Allie Huszcza, a senior at Colgan High School, is also finding her participation in this year's virtual WiT program to be fulfilling.

"I have met other girls who have the same interest of engineering," commented Huszcza. "I can definitely say I am satisfied so far and thankful to be part of the WiT program."