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AVIAN Partners with CSM to Host Annual Youth Engineering Event

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – On July 14, AVIAN partnered with the College of Southern Maryland to host a hands-on session for thirteen high school-aged girls during their week-long Engineer Like a Girl (ELAG) program.  

The program, fully funded by donations to the CSM Foundation, aims to expose underrepresented female students to various engineering concepts and encourage them to participate in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) activities. 

“I want to give young women the opportunity and the exposure to what engineering can offer, said Jehnell Linkins, Pre-Engineering Program Coordinator at CSM. “This group is underrepresented in engineering, and I want to let them know they can do it.” 

Linkins is dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for young girls to understand better how their interests and skills may be helpful in an engineering field and connected with AVIAN to enhance the ELAG program agenda. 
To help with the ELAG mission, AVIAN engineers and professionals offered ELAG students insight into a day in the life of an engineer supporting the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).  

Guest speaker Ms. Leslie Taylor, a retired vice command for NAVAIR, kicked off the event by explaining her road to making history as a female engineer at NAVAIR.  

“Engineering is a team sport, be a team, get through it together; it is worth it,” Taylor said. “I stuck it out because I wanted to do the things you see in Top Gun. When we [women] are outnumbered, we must be allies. Look out for each other.”  

Taylor’s graduating class in college had only a handful of female students out of hundreds of graduates. To this day, engineering fields remain dominated by male engineers.   

Taylor continues to share her story to help aspiring and current female engineers. She has made incredible progress in reshaping the male-dominated industry for the new generation of female engineers. She is featured in the Women of Aviation exhibit at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Patuxent River, Maryland.  

Following Taylor’s remarks, students met various engineers from AVIAN and participated in hands-on activities such as flying a drone and creating a 3D model with their phones.  
The engineers spoke to the students about their career experiences and personal journeys to becoming engineers. AVIAN Engineers shared tips and gave the students valuable advice for the road ahead.   

“If you don’t know, take a step back and reapproach the situation,” said Tracie Tepke, Assistant Program Manager for Test and Evaluation and an aerospace engineer by trade. “Believe in yourself and your abilities regardless of whether you are a minority in the field.” 

Engineering is a field where women are underrepresented, and it is vital to give young women exposure to a profession with so much opportunity. There are many opportunities in engineering that people do not think of when they think of engineering. Drawing is one example of an opportunity that many people may not associate with engineering. The program aims to help educate the students about the many areas of engineering one can get involved in.   

While exposing young women to the path of engineering, it is equally important to support them and for them to understand there are people out there that are very willing to help.  

AVIAN Data Requirements Engineer, Regina Richardson said to the girls, “Don’t hesitate to ask for help; go to the office hours and ask questions. If you show interest, people will help you, and you’ll go far.”   

About CSM, Engineer Like a Girl Program 

Engineer Like a Girl is a one-week summer program sponsored by the College of Southern Maryland. This program aims to empower middle and high school girls by exposing them to hands-on engineering concepts. For additional information about CSM’s engineering programs, please visit:  


AVIAN (*ae-v-yin*) is an employee-owned government services small business headquartered in Lexington Park, Maryland with annual revenues exceeding $73 million.

We are resourceful, responsive, and reachable for our clients in program, financial, and logistics management; engineering and systems engineering; test and evaluation of manned and unmanned aerial, surface, and sub-surface systems; workforce development and training; and communication strategy and graphic design.

Our philosophy is simple. We care for our employees. Our employees care for our customers. Our customers care to return. Simply put, we take care of each other.

For more information, visit  

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