BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont 11th grader is looking to break down barriers in the male-dominated tech industry.
Lizbeth Trujillo attends Beaumont Early College High School.
"This program I am in right now is helping me achieve my education much faster than in a regular high school," said Trujillo.
The Early College program at Beaumont ISD is giving her the chance to get a heard start. Once she graduates from the program, she will have an Associate degree in hand.
She is studying to become a Computer Science Major.
"For a dream job I would particularly like to work for Blizzard. I like most of their online PC games," said Trujillo.
It's no secret that men are at the forefront of the tech industry, but Trujillo doesn't want that to discourage other women from working in the career field.
"I do believe that we should fight that, of course, but it shouldn't stop anyone from going into that field," Trujillo said.
Part of her education is learning about STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
MORE | BISD STEM program
In one of the STEM classes, she's learning about coding. Lessons in coding will help her achieve her ultimate goal to land her in the computer science field.
Coding involves creating complex instructions for computers to follow to perform tasks.
Marinette Parkerson is Beaumont ISD's STEM coordinator.
"We want to break barriers, we want to break stereotypes," said Parkerson.
She knows the importance of technology in today's society.
"Coding is essential. If you want to work for Facebook, if you want to create an app, you have to know how to code," said Parkerson.
Parkerson said she understands the field is primarily made up of men, but she's working to change that.
"I want to hone in on those girls that feel left out," Parkerson said. "I want to be able to tell them, 'you can do it.'"
She's not the only one on that mission. Parkerson is getting help from one of Southeast Texas' biggest refineries.
Beaumont ISD's STEM program received a $20,000 donation from ExxonMobil.
From the 1980's to now, women have been making strides when it comes to the workforce.
In a 2018 report by Catalyst, women make up 47% of the workforce.
That number is much lower in the technology field. When it comes to tech jobs, women only make up 25%.
READ MORE | Catalyst report
According to the hiring company Adeva, one reason is because girls are less likely to study STEM subjects in school.
"It might be difficult at first, but the more you stay persistent at it," said Parkerson. "And the more you show them that you are worthy to be in this profession, they can't deny you."
She hopes to help change the statistics.
"Everything is coming into this technological age and this STEM age, learning how to build what you need. I want to be the one to spark curiosity and watch the explosion of creativity," said Parkerson.
As for Trujillo, she isn't concerned that men are on the forefront of tech work because she is confident that she has what it takes to make her mark.
"I believe in having a strong passion in everything you do and want to pursue in life and I think people need to take that into consideration when planning for their future," said Trujillo.
BISD is hosting a district STEM night.
It will be Tuesday, February 25 at West Brook High School. It will begin at 7 p.m.
The event will showcase STEM projects students have been working on.
Beaumont's Early College High School has been around for four years and will graduate it's first class on May 22, 2020.