This project examines the contributions of environmental effects and role models to the overall sense of belonging and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among women. Eleven female engineers, ranging from college freshmen, seniors, and industry members, were interviewed for their perspectives on how their childhoods, female engineers in media, and STEM outreach affiliations affected their career decisions to pursue engineering. Additionally, a student survey was sent to the general Arizona State University population to gauge interest in different engineering challenges. Major, gender, and first-generation status emerged as affecting factors for high interest in certain engineering challenges. As denoted by the survey, male students showed more interest in "Joy of Living" related challenges, while females were more interested in "Health" and "Sustainability" related challenges. First-generation students showed more neutral attitudes than continuing-generation towards most of the engineering challenges. Interview vignettes and survey results were analyzed to identify implications for K-12 outreach and education efforts.