Dr. Meredith LaBeau and Audra Thurston featured on Saturday, May 15

CALUMET, Mich. (Wed. May 12, 2021) – On Saturday, May 15, Calumet Electronics engineers Dr. Meredith LaBeau, Director of Process, R&D & Manufacturing Engineering, and Audra Thurston, Product Realization / R&D Manager, will join an esteemed panel of professional women working in aerospace to inspire K-12 students to pursue STEM fields. Michigan, one of the most vibrant aerospace clusters in the nation, has over 600 companies that provide exciting jobs from manufacturing to engineering.

“Women in Aerospace” is a free virtual event hosted by Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM) and the robotics organization, FIRST in Michigan®. The event will feature two keynote speakers, Huy Tran, Director of Aeronautics at NASA Ames Research Center, and Janelle Wellons, Instrument Operations Systems Engineer for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

All are welcome to participate in engaging panel discussions that include Dr. LaBeau, Thurston, and 15 other female executive leaders. Moderators will share their unique experiences in joining a FIRST® robotics team and how paths in STEM education and aerospace can ultimately lead to exciting careers.

In addition to the panel discussion, Dr. LaBeau and Thurston's presentations will focus on developing next-generation technology in a male-dominated industry, breaking down barriers, and never saying sorry for dreaming to the highest extent.

"I am honored to participate in this Michigan-based women's aerospace event and to represent the UP," said Dr. LaBeau. "I have a deep passion for ensuring all students can dream big and find meaningful careers in STEM-related fields, especially electronics and aerospace. Calumet Electronics is dedicated to educating and employing the next generation of leaders who can bring this industry to the next level. Many of them will be strong women!"

Both Dr. LaBeau and Thurston grew up interested in STEM-related careers and graduated from Michigan Technological University. They believe young women should pursue STEM opportunities for meaningful jobs that allow them to grow and invent the future.

"I hope those young ladies participating will walk away realizing that a career in aerospace or STEM can be creatively fulfilling," said Thurston. "The creative side of STEM is rarely talked about or promoted, but advancing to the next generation of technology in aerospace is going to require creative people who can apply strong STEM principles in innovative ways.”

Attendees of the event will leave motivated and empowered. "The future is in your hands," said LaBeau. "Develop it, nurture it, and push it to the boundaries. You are in charge of your destiny. If you work hard and are humble, you will find great success as an engineer or technician with aerospace or other STEM industries. Make sure you reach out and find mentors for support and never be afraid to ask questions, lead, and reach for the stars."

Calumet Electronics is an industry leader in capacity, capability, and advocacy. The company encourages opportunities for young women to play significant roles within the electronics field. Dr. LaBeau and Thurston are also great examples of how Calumet provides leadership to an entire industry, working to make American electronics competitive on the global stage.

"At Calumet, we work, grow, and push technology forward in an industry pushing the bounds for the future economy here in Calumet, through the state of Michigan, and all across the United States," said Dr. LaBeau. “Audra and I are thrilled to share our stories and distinct perspectives with the next generation of female engineering stars.”

Registration details for “Women in Aerospace” are available at aiamnow.com/aiamfirst. The event is Saturday, May 15, from 8:45 AM – 12 PM.

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