Goal is to increase gender and racial diversity in these lucrative fields
The American Association of University Women recently announced a pilot program designed to encourage high school girls to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). With a particular focus on girls of color, AAUW STEMEd for Girls seeks to raise awareness, bolster confidence and expose students to the enormous and fulfilling career potential in these fields.
Supported by a grant from Arconic Foundation, AAUW STEMEd for Girls will pilot this summer as a series of free virtual interactive workshops that aims to debunk myths about pursuing and working in STEM fields. Girls will participate in collaborative learning and STEM-based problem solving and will develop personalized pathways to potentially pursue STEM majors and STEM careers. STEM Ambassadors, accomplished AAUW fellowships and grants alumnae and STEM experts, will facilitate discussions, offer guidance and mentorship and encourage parents and caregivers to support their daughters’ education and career journeys.
“There are still so few women of color in many STEM fields, both at the college level and in the professional world,” said Leshell Hatley, Ph.D., AAUW’s director of STEM programs. “We believe that by reaching out to girls in high school and showing them how exciting, interesting and lucrative these fields can be, they may be inspired to major in STEM in college and ultimately to join the STEM workforce.”
“Industry needs the talents and skills these young women can bring,” said Ryan Kish, Arconic Foundation vice president and treasurer. “Many of tomorrow’s careers will be in STEM fields and we need programs that prepare today’s students for those opportunities. To maximize its potential and continue to grow, the future manufacturing workforce needs to be more diverse and inclusive, and we believe that programs like AAUW STEMEd for Girls are key to getting us there.”
AAUW STEMEd for Girls is the latest in a long line of AAUW initiatives aimed at advancing women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math. Since its founding 140 years ago, AAUW has worked to open doors to education, careers and leadership roles, most notably in the STEM fields. It has done groundbreaking research on systemic barriers to women in STEM and has provided support to STEM researchers, scholars and community organizations through its world-renowned Fellowship and Grants program.
“When we look at fields where women, especially women of color, still encounter barriers, the STEM careers are at the top of the list,” Dr. Hatley said. “Our goal with this program is to break down those barriers and open more doors to more women—to the benefit of all of us.”
Visit AAUW.org to register for the program or learn more.