USF recruiting 13-year-old Scripps National Spelling Bee contestant Kaitlin Ryan

Posted at 3:03 AM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 06:47:19-04

She's only 13-years-old but Kaitlin Ryan is already getting interest from the University of South Florida.

Kailtin is so good at spelling, she made it to the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee this year. She says her least favorite word is, "The one I didn't spell correctly, so, fissile."

She can spell it now but it wasn't the letters she strung together during the competition that made USF take notice.

When school leaders heard about her interest in Engineering through ABC Action News, they took action.

"I think Kaitin has some sense that Mechanical engineering might be an area for her because she likes to take things apart and build things," said Robert Bishop, the USF College of Engineering Dean.

Kaitlin got a VIP tour, roaming the halls of USF... even learning how 3D printing works.

According to the bureau of Labor statistics, 47 percent of people working in 2016 were female but the National Science Foundation says data from 2013 shows only 25 percent of women are working in math, science, and engineering professions. What's more troubling is not enough people in general are showing interest in the field.

"It's important that we graduate engineers that have a global sense, have a sense of how engineers work with others to solve problems," said Bishop.

Kaitlin is well on her way although she's got nearly six years to figure it out.