Carlson mentors' children at her neighborhood Boys and Girls Club, participates in Abbott STEM programs at local schools, and is the recruiting captain at Abbott's university career fairs. For Carlson, these types of involvements have allowed her to have a more hands-on approach when it comes to opening the world of possibilities in STEM for the new generation. She hopes it will inspire them to get involved in STEM early in their lives. Nicole Joison, a manufacturing process engineer with Abbott's Rapid Diagnostics business, says she hopes future generations can see more diversity in STEM for executives as well.
"I want younger generations to see more diversity in leadership roles," she says. "I think that young girls need to be inspired to understand that they can do anything that they want within a STEM field."
Similarly, Forbes seeks to foster interest and knowledge in STEM careers when she visits her old high school in Trinidad.
"I try to influence ... and understand what's going on. I try to help those young children understand what it takes to make it in STEM and how my journey evolved," she says
Inclusion in Practice
Inspiring and influencing younger generations isn't a one-and-done process. Companies need to take fundamental steps in securing the next generation's interest in STEM fields. One way Carlson would like to start is by removing stigmas related to careers in STEM "by encouraging students to be lifelong learners."
Creating open environments where diversity of thought can flourish is essential to putting inclusivity into practice. Inclusive environments benefit workers, employers and younger generations — they make a difference in the lives of people all around the world. Diversity brings new ideas and life experiences to the table, and it's that kind of collaboration that will inspire the next breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and math.
Good thing, too: Now more than ever, the world needs more curiosity and passion.
"The underlying motivation and everything that I'm doing here as an engineer at Abbott is that I want to see greater diversity in leadership roles," says Joison. "I want to inspire other people to join me in that mission because I think that there's a lot of momentum in order to change this."