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STEM girls and motors

By Leslie Prevish

Leslie Prevish Blog 8-13On a recent hike, I came across a college girl wearing a T-Shirt proclaiming, “Science is the new rock ‘n’ roll.” It made me ponder whether there might be an existing — or potential — connection between powersports and girls who study science, technology, engineering and math: STEM girls.

Some girls seem born with an innate interest in technology, while others have cultivated it throughout their lives. Here are some ideas to both encourage and build relationships with STEM girls, who may then become future customers.

  1. STEM-ers in School

The best bet is to start them young. What have you done with your local grade school or high school to stimulate girls’ interest in powersports? It could be as simple as regularly riding your motorcycle to teach Junior Achievement classes and handing out stickers, as I’ve done in the past. Or, with older kids, incorporating powersports technology into guest teaching opportunities.

Not a teacher at heart? Offer your dealership — or brand — to sponsor a technology outing day for the local school, inviting girls — and boys — to get excited about how stuff works. Check out some other ideas from the National Girls Collaborative Project and find a local program for partnership. I bet they haven’t had too many powersports partners, so your competition will be low.

Host a STEM Saturday for girls and boys at your dealership. If you have a kid’s area, do you have fun, mechanical toys? At your company outings, think about the games you set up for kids, and how they could be “building” something fun. If you need more inspiration, search your city and “STEM education,” and I bet you’ll find a few nuggets.

On the college level, talk with the STEM professors at your local university and ask how you can help foster interest through your business, either with a specific class or through general programs. Maybe it’s hands-on with an engineering project? Or how about offering a grant for local girls to pursue STEM at college? Don’t forget to promote the connections on your website, social and through local media to share your support of women and technology.

  1. Making kids curious

According to this article, Parents Key in Attracting Girls to STEM, parents can make or break a girl’s interest in STEM. What have you personally done to foster curiosity of motors among your daughters, granddaughters or nieces (heck, even your neighbors’ kids?).

My dad passed away when I was 8, but one fond memory I have was “working” on the car with him. He said if I “helped him out,” he’d take me on a ride to see some horses. Invite girls to tinker in the garage as toddlers. As they get older, take them on rides and to powersports races. Engage them with fun tech activities.

  1. Toys do matter

Think about what you give — or stock in your dealership — as gifts. In the article Ask the experts: How do we get girls into STEM?, one expert states, "The toys and games that young girls play with mold their educational and career interests; they create dreams of future careers."

Need ideas? One toy company, GoldieBlox, offers STEM-stimulating products, and some excellent videos to get girls — and parents — excited at STEM, like this one: This is Your Brain on Engineering. I wonder if any powersports companies have approached them for a partnership on branded toys?

My brother Tom has a PhD in Engineering, and when I asked him about this article, he added, “Girls need to get excited about STEM before Disney Princesses take over their brains.”

  1. A word about electric

I doubt if gas and oil motors will ever go away, but the future of powersports includes electric vehicles. If engineers and designers in college are studying this topic, think about how to get them attracted to your brand or store. Use some of the resources in the above to make connections and propose electric-related programs or projects. Need ideas on getting her excited about electric powersports products? Here’s my blog from last year, Selling Electrics and Hybrids to Women.

A rider for 26 years, Leslie spent 15 years with Harley-Davidson (3 retail, 12 corporate) and created their marketing to women role in 2007. She spearheaded Women Riders Month and a Garage Party Campaign which drove 25,000 women to dealers. After 2 years at Trek Bicycles, Leslie now helps companies sell more to new audiences.

Contact email: leslie@previshmarketing.com.

Website: www.previshmarketing.com.

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