The West Texas Girl Powered Conference was designed to engage and inspire girls in the various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields among its speakers and participants. The theme for this year’s conference was “Forging the Future”, and during the conference, YWLA students and other El Paso-area high schools participated in an array of fun and engaging activities, listening to speakers, and participating in workshops. Students also had the opportunity to visit booths with representatives from Western Tech, Rice University, Kettering University, New Mexico State University’s engineering program, AIA El Paso’s Women in Architecture Committee (WiA), and UTEP’s pharmacy program.

Exigo Associates, Alexandra Cortez (WiA Co-Chair)  and Italia Aguilera (AIA Emerging Professionals Director) along with other WiA members and Texas Tech University Huckabee College of Architecture students, spoke with YWLA students about the importance of the Architectural profession and the process to becoming an Architect.

Italia Aguilera emphasized, to over 500 elementary and middle school students, that women can excel in male dominated fields and that they have the capacity to make a positive impact through design. Alexandra Cortez spoke to high school students about sustainability within architecture, and how the future of buildings requires a holistic approach to design that encompasses passive heating and cooling, a design for longevity, and the creation of community and place