Female Role Models Empower Young Girls to Pursue STEM Careers in Latest Ad Council Campaign

A partnership with major science and tech brands

Boeing's Tiera Fletcher shares her love of rocket science. Ad Council
Headshot of Shannon Miller

In November 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a report that examined the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. Per their findings, women only occupied 25 percent of STEM jobs. Furthermore, women who earned college degrees in STEM were less likely to pursue work in their field, opting for work in education or healthcare instead.

This information, though dismal, is not surprising when you consider that girls and women are more likely to maintain an interest in STEM careers when they have female role models within the field to look to—which, of course, is impacted when the visibility of women in STEM is barely there.

Understanding that representation undoubtedly matters, the Ad Council has partnered with GE, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Verizon, to launch “She Can STEM” a campaign geared toward the encouragement of young girls to engage their interests in related careers.

“She Can STEM” features a trio of 30-second ads, each showing a group of young girls shadowing a female professional in three completely different areas STEM: Bonnie Ross, Head of Microsoft’s Halo Games Studio, astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz, and Tiera Fletcher, structural analysis engineer at Boeing.

What makes this campaign so striking is the lack of added flash that you may expect from such a subject. We get to see young girls mentored and seriously encouraged to become astronauts, scientists, and video game designers. This is more about the message and the spots created by McCann reflect a straightforward concept: when it comes to inspiring young women to go after careers in male-dominated fields, showing is way better than telling.


“When girls don’t feel encouraged and empowered in STEM, we see serious consequences not only for girls and women but also for the future of innovation in our country,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “If we want women at the forefront of the next generation of STEM leaders, we must show young girls that it is possible. If they can see it, they can be it.”

“So many young girls show an interest in math and science at a young age, but aren’t encouraged to pursue it and turn it into what could be an incredibly interesting and rewarding career,” added Karen Horting, executive director and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers. “We need to change the perception of what an engineer or technologist looks like and inspire girls to explore these amazing career opportunities further.”

“She Can STEM” will run via digital, broadcast, and printed platforms for at least a year, and can also be found on its own dedicated social media channels on Instagram and YouTube.


The Ad Council
Head of Campaign Development: Michelle Hillman
VP, Group Campaign Director: Rowena Patrick
Campaign Manager: Mary Zost
Assistant Campaign Manager: Monica Hunter

Mccann Erickson
Chief Creative Officer: Sean Bryan
EVP Global Creative Director: Pierre Lipton
SVP Group Creative Director: Holly Hessler
Associate Creative Director: Lucas Crigler
Associate Creative Director: Hope Nardini
Designer: Jordan Nerison
Designer: Christina Hillman
Digital Producer: Sean Flanigan
Senior Art Director: Mila Mitova
Copywriter: Elina Rudkovskaya
Designer: Yung Lee
SVP, Head of Integrated Production: Carolyn Johnson
Producer: Rebecca Magner
Senior Art Producer: Kelly Ramsey
Managing Director: Kevin Nelson
EVP Executive Account Director: Tina Galley
SVP Group Account Director: Rosemary Calderone
Account Director: Vincent Scicchitano
Account Supervisor: Elvia Ortiz
Account Executive: Jamile Ramirez
SVP, Director of Project Management: Stella Warkman
Senior Project Management: Vinny Tran

Hungry Man
Director : Nanette Burstein
Managing Partner/Executive Producer: Kevin Byrne
Producer/Director of Sales: Dan Duffy
Executive Producer: Mine Jarjoura
Producer: Julianne Maloney

Editorial House: Union Editorial NY
Editors: Sloane Klevin, Christopher Huth, Ryan Stacom, Adriana Machado
Executive Producer: Caryn Maclean
Post Producer: Lauren Hafner Sheehan
Flame Artist: Kirk Balden

Color House: Color Collective
Colorist: Alex Bickle

Supervision Agency/Stills
Lauren Dukoff: Photographer
Agent : Drew Schufman
Digital Tech: James Russell Goethals
Hair/Makeup Artist: Wendy Karcher
Photo Assistant: Oscar Cruz
Photo Assistant: Bryan Beight

Audio Post: Sonic Union
Mix Engineer: Brian Goodheart
Music by: Position Music and Score a Score

Shannon Miller is a writer, podcast creator and contributor to Adweek.