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Bellevue’s Rockwell Collins hosted a total of 26 eighth-grade females from both Bellevue High School and Marquette Catholic High School last week as part of Engineers Week 2018, which was officially recognized by the local company.

The hope was to engage with the girls who will soon enter high school to pique their interest in a future career in engineering.

Called “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” last Tuesday’s event in Bellevue was intended to do just that.

“Engineering is about problem solving, and women have a definite skill in this area, so we wanted to expose them to the future career opportunities in engineering, some of which may be available right in their own back yard,” said Sr. Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Jerry Litterer.

While at the Bellevue plant theyoung women toured the engineering facility and received some hands-on experience while soldering their own circuit boards.

From “black boxes” to intricate controls, the young ladies also watched and listened closely to Rockwell Collins staff members, who showed them various Airbus components and controls and guided them through an overview of the complicated and intricate process of manufacturing them.

Students also learned that Rockwell Collins is the largest private employer in Bellevue with about 200 on staff, many of who are highly skilled engineers and technicians.

The local plant manufactures flight control computers, low range altimeters, Airbus Ethernet switches and various other graphics process and controls for the Boeing 737, 757, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes.

Over half the workers have 20-plus years of experience and approximately $60 million in product annually is shipped from the plant for use in the aerospace industry.

“A lot of our students have no idea what we do here,” said Litterer. “They may drive by here each day, but to many of them, it’s just another building. We want them to take an interest in engineering.”

Engineers Week is part of Rockwell Collins’ Engineering Experiences education outreach program, started at the company’s headquarters in 1991, which addresses the growing need to develop a global workforce of engineers, scientists and innovators.

This is the second year that the Bellevue Rockwell Collins location has hosted the event for young women.

“We usually host students for the fall tour for Jackson County Manufacturing Week, but some of the smaller Rockwell Collins locations like this one in Bellevue decided to get more involved,” said Litterer.

Activities at Rockwell Collins “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” in Bellevue was comprised of lab tours, mentoring sessions and team-building exercises.

All total, as many as 10 Rockwell Collins facilities hosted the Introduce a Girl to Engineer event in 2017, involving nearly 675 students. In addition to Bellevue and Cedar Rapids, participating locations include Sterling, Va., Tustin, Calif., Melbourne, Fla., Houston, Texas, and Portland, Ore. Rockwell Collins facilities in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Rockwell Collins employees engaged hundreds of other students during Engineers Week through sponsored family events, site tours, career and guidance fairs, and visits to schools.

“The engineers of tomorrow will accomplish incredible things— things we can’t even imagine—and it all starts with exposing them to the possibilities,” said Nan Mattai, senior vice president of Engineering and Technology at

Rockwell Collins. “I salute all of the Engineers Week around the world who are raising awareness of such an exciting and rewarding field.”

About Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins is a leader in aviation and high-integrity solutions for commercial and military customers around the world. Every day we help pilots safely and reliably navigate to the far corners of the earth; keep warfighters aware and informed in battle; deliver millions of messages for airlines and airports; and help passengers stay connected and comfortable throughout their journey. As experts in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, cabin interiors, information management, mission communications, and simulation and training, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that can transform our customers’ futures.

Bellevue Herald-Leader

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