By Joel Hillan

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Some high school students got a chance to visit Lockheed Martin on Thursday and experience what a STEM career would be like.

One of those young women, Emma Garcia, is going to be a sophomore at Saint Mary’s Academy in the fall. She is part of a special program through Girls Inc. that matches up these young women with internships in STEM fields.

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“I want to go to college and I want to study biology, I want to do something in science,” Emma said.

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Danielle Richey is a Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin.

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“When I look at the Girls Inc. interns I definitely see myself at a much younger age. They’re enthusiastic, they’re a little timid, they aren’t quite sure where they are in the world, but they just want to learn and really want to find their place,” said Richey.

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Richey mentors the young women, helping them imagine a future in a STEM career.

“It doesn’t have to be just a very typical engineer or doctor or biochemist, that they can find their niche, their field anywhere and I really want them to embrace that and embrace who they are on that journey.”

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Sophia Gaal will be a sophomore at DSST Byers in the fall. Her internship has been to help NASA study an asteroid.

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“It takes about six minutes for the information to travel to OSIRIS-REx and then come back and it’s really cool because you can see everything in live time, and see that they got the message and are doing whatever it is they instructed you to do.”

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The hope is that programs like Eureka! through Girls Inc. will continue to expand, impacting more and more girls so that they learn that the sky really isn’t the limit.

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“My message to any girl that feels timid or thinks that space is a boy’s domain, I think that they can be whatever they want to be. If they want to be that astronaut on Mars, they can be it. I think they should be persistent and keep going despite what anyone tells them. I’ve had many road blocks in my life, I’ve had men tell that I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I’ve achieved and I think they just need to keep on following their dreams,” said Richey.

LINK: Girls Inc. Denver and Eureka!

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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