American Community School
As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Catherine Steinmetz was shocked to learn that in a university of 30,000 people, there were only a few other women in her chemical engineering courses. She learned quickly that “math, science and engineering are programs that fail to graduate women and students from minority populations in numbers that represent their prevalence.” When she became a professional engineer working for ExxonMobil in West Africa and then General Mills in Chicago, the isolation was even harder. “As a teacher, I hope to challenge women and other underrepresented students to consider the hard sciences and engineering as a worthwhile and achievable professional opportunity.”
Catherine has worked as an adult English as a second language (ESL) teacher for Catholic Charities and has traveled extensively, including trips to Chile, Argentina, China and Angola. While volunteering with Living Water International, she not only supported the technical operations of drilling water wells in Central America, she also trained as a hygiene instructor to ensure the sustainability of the wells through education. In college, Catherine volunteered as an outreach coordinator with the Society of Women Engineers recruiting qualified high school students into engineering.