As a global health technology company that attracts world-class scientific researchers and developers, we've asked ourselves this question often. We do a lot in our communities to address the issue, and in 2012, we also started a high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) internship that has changed how we recruit.


In the United States, women only make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce, way below most other sectors. Sterile lab coats and safety glasses, so often associated with these occupations, don't accurately convey the creative thinking needed to solve our world's biggest problems.


We know that high school girls over index on creative thinking and are more likely to seek a career that has a positive impact on the world. The good news is, these skills are precisely what's needed in tomorrow's STEM pioneers. Our biggest problems cannot be solved without smart, imaginative thinking and the desire to make lasting change.


We also know that hands-on, creative experiences encourage girls to engage in STEM and related subject fields, which is why we continue to invest in our high school STEM internship program. The internship aims to demystify what it means to work in STEM by giving students the opportunity to contribute to our life-changing technologies alongside engineers and scientists who look like them. Because we choose students from diverse schools near the cities where we work, about two-thirds of these students from across the U.S. are women and about 60 percent are minorities. About half of them end up in our college internship program, and we've recently hired our first high school internship alumnae on as full-time employees.


But we’re not stopping there. We need more women in STEM, and more STEM mentors, and we know the perfect women for the job.


Meet our STEM Sisters. A select group of incredible women who are making a difference through STEM fields at Abbott, every single day.

Our STEM Sisters


Corlis Murray

Title: Senior Vice President, Quality Assurance, Regulatory and Engineering Services


Age you knew you wanted to be an engineer: 17


Advice you would give your 11-year-old self: Study hard in school, especially in math and science.


Sand castles or snow forts? Snow forts every time.


Mary Rogers

Title: Senior Scientist


Age you knew you wanted to be a scientist: 9


Advice you would give your 11-year-old self: Keep asking lots of questions!


What's the coolest thing about your job? I get to find new things that no one has ever seen before.


What your favorite virus? Bacteriophage


Beth McQuiston

Title: Medical Director, Diagnostics


Age you knew you wanted to be a scientist: 16 for nutritional science and 28 for medical science


Advice you would give your 11-year-old self: Work hard and believe in yourself. Keep going. Persistence is key. You can do it!


What's your favorite brain food? Green tea and Pad Thai with tofu


women in STEM


Title: R&D Director (ADC Witney)


Age you knew you wanted to be a scientist: I always enjoyed mathematics from a young age but didn’t really think about it as a grown up career until I was about 17. This was the age when I reduced the number of subjects that I studied and focused more on mathematics. It was the age when I first studied statistics as a separate discipline.


Advice you would give your 11-year-old self: My advice would be 'Carry on doing what you're doing'. I wouldn’t change anything about growing up, or the choices I made about studying and careers.


Favorite classic science experience: My at home probability experiments! I also had an inspirational teacher at primary school who taught me lots about the natural world. I particularly remember dissecting an owl pellet and raising indian moon moths from caterpillar to chrysalis to moth.


Her STEM career was a statistical lock. Now she's making FreeStyle Libre better. Meet Claire Bhogal.


Sarah von Kampen

Title: Manufacturing Process Engineer (Nutrition)


Age you knew you wanted to be an engineer: My second STEM internship with Abbott I realized this is where I truly want to be. It confirmed Engineering was where my true passion was. During the internship I experienced the real pleasure in getting to the root cause of problems in order to solve them properly.


Advice you would give your 11-year-old self: Don't give up when it gets hard. Stay focused. The solution is always so much greater than the struggle it takes to get there.


Favorite classic science experience: In high school Chemistry we played around with chemicals and equations a lot - reactions, explosions, etc. - doesn't really get any more fun than that. Those experiences stick.


She's been around Abbott since high school. She's seen a lot. She's ready to see what's next. Meet Sarah von Kampen.


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