STEM Is for Women Too

By: Ruth Efe

My mother got her degree in electrical engineering. You could count the number of women who have that degree on your hands, let alone how many African women do. She has told me stories about being the one of two girls in her class, surrounded by men. But she wasn’t intimidated. She just stuck her head in her books and studied. She knew what she wanted and she went for it.

And she isn’t alone. Although there is still a prevalent gender-bias in STEM, there are other women who decided to not be intimated and do what they knew they wanted to do with their lives.

On November the 10th, the YWCA held the All Girl STEM Summit. It was a conference, presented by women from Ball Aerospace for girls to learn what it’s like working in STEM fields, what it means to be a scientists, and encourage them that they too could touch there stars or even study them.

After an interactive challenge, a presentation on Ball’s latest endeavor, and group activities, they presented a panel with all the mentors from the conference before us: Alice Lecinski, Allison Barto, Teri Eastburn, Brandy Jack, and Jamie Javier. They told their stories of how they came to love STEM, over came adversity, and still wrestle with it today. But what stood out to me was the great advantage of our modern times. They told us how they didn’t have a conference like this when they were growing up: there wasn’t many sources of empowerment and encouragement to pursue such visions. But today, even though sexism in the work place is not eradicated, we have the ability to stand together.

My mother, one of two women to graduate with her electrical engineering degree, didn’t have a community to fall back on. And although it is good to be independent, it is better to unite so that we can inspire and help one another lead reach further than we ever though possible. As it is said, there is strength in numbers. So if you are one of these wonderful dreamers who want to pursue STEM fields, there are more opportunities than you think. This conference has allowed me to have contacts with women who love to mentor girls to be all they inspire to become. They are so passionate about helping young girls, they allowed be to give out their contact information for all the girls that would like to be mentored by women living in the STEM world.

If you would like an internship or a mentor opportunity, contact the STEM Summit Mentors today! Introduce yourself, tell them that you heard about the All Girl STEM Summit conference and would love to take on the opportunity. For more information on the next All Girl STEM Summit, contact the program director, Kate Pennella: kate@ywcaboulder.org

Mentors:

Alice Lecinski: alice@ucar.edu

Brandy Jack: brandy.jack@emerson.com   

Allison Barto: Allison.a.barto@gmail.com

Jamie Javier: Jamie.javier7145@gmail.com

Teri Eastburn: taestburn@gmail.com