Written by volunteer Alison Perch
Danielle Passaglia is a strong advocate for STEM education. Though Danielle was always interested in math, an introduction to AutoCAD (design software) in high school led her on the path of architecture and engineering.
Today, Danielle is a mechanical engineer at Arup, where she designs the mechanical systems for buildings around the world. Technology is an integral part of her job, and she loves learning about new software and tools that can streamline her day-to-day work.
“I’m constantly designing, engineering, and thinking of innovative solutions on a daily basis,” she says.
Danielle notes that it can be challenging to navigate a traditionally male dominated field and deal with unconscious bias. Since women are underrepresented in her industry, Danielle wants to share her passion for engineering with younger generations of girls and encourage them to pursue STEM careers.
To advocate for STEM education, Danielle volunteers with TechGirlz and has led TechShopz in the Chicago area.
“[TechGirlz] is a great organization that provides free workshops for young girls interested in STEM or for those who do not know what a STEM career involves,” Danielle explains. “It is a social, interactive, positively charged environment that inspires the girls as well as the instructors to experience what STEM careers have to offer.”
Though Danielle is relatively new to volunteering with TechGirlz, she has already made a tremendous impact. After leading a TechShop, Danielle received positive feedback from the girls’ parents.
Danielle notes: “One of my favorite emails was a parent asking if I’d be doing the workshop annually so their kid could come once [she was] old enough. She was in kindergarten!”
As a TechGirlz volunteer, Danielle feels inspired by the girls’ willingness to learn something new.
“It’s not always easy to go into situations where you don’t know people or what you will be doing, but [the girls] end up having a great time and hopefully take away something they initially did not know about STEM,” Danielle explains.
Danielle strongly encourages fellow STEM advocates to get involved with TechGirlz.
“It is a rewarding experience that will inspire you just as much as it will inspire the girls. It is a reminder of why I love my career so much and why it’s so important to share it with others. It is a great organization to spend your time with and impact the lives of many young girls,” Danielle says.
When Danielle isn’t volunteering for TechGirlz or working at Arup, she loves staying active, spending time with her family, and fitting in some much-needed Netflix time.
Despite her busy schedule, Danielle looks forward to leading more TechShopz in the near future. Keep an eye on our Upcoming TechShopz page for details!
Want to advocate for STEM education? Sign up as a TechGirlz volunteer today!