On September 21, NACME Board Company Intel, in partnership with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, hosted a group of talented female engineering students at NACME Partner Institution, NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering MakerSpace, to kick off their first ever Design Ideation Camp. Freshmen to seniors participated in an all day workshop lead by Henrik Scheel, Founder and CEO of Startup Experience Inc., meant to inspire students to unleash their creativity through technology.

The women heard from fashion mogul Rebecca Minkoff, Co-founder and Creative Director of Rebecca Minkoff and her brother Uri Minkoff, about the merging of fashion and technology industries and how, with a little creativity, engineering and technology together can revolutionize the fashion world.

NYU Tandon students listened as Rebecca and Uri discussed the importance of a STEM degree and explained how fashion is no longer driven solely by the creative side but now, technology and engineering professionals are getting an equal share in the process. For women looking for a way to break out of traditional engineering roles, the workshop encouraged them to “stay with it” and pursue STEM degrees, which have proven to be a real asset in the fashion world.

When asked about the job market for female engineers looking for non-traditional engineering roles, Rebecca Minkoff responded, she would hire four female programmers in a heartbeat with the talent to combine fashion and technology, but they’re just not there. The market is rapidly expanding and the need for students graduating with STEM degrees and an interest in the fashion industry is only going to increase.

To further portray the need for engineers in the fashion industry, Rhonda James, Intel Global Diversity & Inclusion/ Strategy & External Alliances and NACME Board Liasion, presented a video of their collaborations with designer Ezra & Tuba, showcasing a beautiful silver and blue gown covered with shimmering butterflies programmed with the Intel Edison Chip to fly off the dress and flap their expertly crafted wings before settling back down on the dresses shoulders. As the designers of the dress stated, “The future of clothing as we know it, is about to change. To be a part of this change we need technology” (view the butterfly dress in action). Through Intel’s presentation and Q&A with Rebecca and Uri Minkoff, the women in attendance were inspired to explore non-traditional uses for their STEM degrees and discover what other skills were crucial to being a successful engineer in the fashion industry.

To lead them through the Design Ideation Camp, Intel introduced the women to Henrik Scheel. Henrik is a Danish serial entrepreneur currently living in San Francisco where he focuses on projects in entrepreneurship education, impact investing, and tech startups in various sectors. NACME’s Chief Development Officer, Elizabeth Ross, and Development Coordinator, Chelsea Chateauvert, were invited to participate in brainstorming exercises lead by Henrik as female students from all engineering disciplines were inspired to solve everyday problems through a combination of technology and fashion design. “Our group had some brilliant ideas on how to solve the fear of sexual assault for women using different types of smart jewelry with built-in alert systems and GPS tracking capabilities,” said Chelsea Chateauvert, “the women discussed what types of technology would be needed to make the product work and were conscientious about the design to help the product appeal to female consumers.”

One of the key lessons learned by these women through the all day workshop was, in order to be successful as an engineer, no matter your gender or ethnicity; you need to think creatively about solving problems that affect you as an individual. They truly learned how to “unleash their creativity with technology” and came to understand how creative thinking is exactly what makes diverse engineers, whether African American, American Indian, Latino, or women in general, stand out and drive innovation among a white male dominated industry. Bottom line, “It’s time for women to even the score!”

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Special thanks to NACME Partners, Intel and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, for hosting the next generation of female engineers for a great day of creative learning.