Deloitte teams with 'Ella the Engineer' to get girls into STEM

04 March 2019 3 min. read

Accounting and consulting firm Deloitte is collaborating with The Ella Project, a mentorship network that encourages young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), to put out a series of “Ella the Engineer” comics which expose girls to science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun and unique way. In a series of four comics and one graphic novel, protagonist Ella will flex her STEM skills under the guidance of various female Deloitte leaders, including Deloitte Consulting CEO Janet Foutty, who is featured in the first comic released.

Despite efforts to close the gap, women currently occupy only 28% of STEM jobs in the US. According to a recent study from the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte, there is a need for 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, with more than 2 million going unfilled due to a talent shortage. Getting more women into STEM fields would help with the projected shortfall. 

According to research from Google for Education and the Educational Research Center of America, girls and boys don’t differ in math and science abilities, but rather in their interest and confidence in STEM subjects.

To instill more interest and confidence in young girls to pursue STEM careers, Deloitte and The Ella Project are collaborating on a series of edutainment comics, featuring the titular Ella and a number of Deloitte leaders.

Deloitte teams up with ‘Ella the Engineer’ to get girls into STEM

"The goal of our collaboration with The Ella Project is to give young girls a role model to inspire them to learn more about STEM," Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer of Deloitte Consulting, said. "These adventures with Ella show that developing STEM skills is a gateway to a great career and empowers girls to have a deeper understanding of solving problems in our day-to-day world."

Ella the Engineer is described in the comic as having “a passion for knowledge and learning,” while also being “relentlessly curious, technologically adept, and a dedicated problem-solver.”

In the first issue of the five-edition collaborative run, Ella is aided by Deloitte CEO Janet Foutty, who helps Ella use to power of analytics in her quest to recover a stolen class pet. Ella uses a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer at a Deloitte analytics lab to determine that the thief had some rare, discontinued packing peanuts on his shoes, eventually leading to the thief's arrest.

“Deloitte is committed to creating opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities to enter into productive careers in STEM and STEM adjacent fields – and it starts with early education. We are thrilled to team with The Ella Project to advance the possibilities for young women's futures, showing how adventurous and meaningful a career in STEM can be – and have a little fun along the way," Foutty said. 

Forthcoming Ella comics will feature Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting; Catherine Bannister, managing director and chief talent officer of technology at Deloitte; and Kelly Herod, principal at  Deloitte Consulting.

The comic series will be circulated to schools and educational groups across the US, and is also available for download at The Ella Project’s website.

Related: Oliver Wyman study reveals lack of women leaders in healthcare