Use this 4-part series to share some facts about these incredible people and their work in STEM fields during Women's History Month!
There are still relatively few women in STEM- this fact probably doesn’t surprise you. According to the American Association of University Women, there is compelling evidence that can help to explain why.
“Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — that continue to block women’s progress in STEM.”
The goal of this series is to help you promote women in STEM. As teachers of teens, it’s our job to help erase these stereotypes and help our female students realize their potential.
Understanding the Gender Gap in Engineering
According to Forbes, we need to understand why there is such a huge disparity in gender in STEM fields. Part of this has to do with how many women study STEM and then the biases in school. For example, males tend to be favored among some college professors.
“When comparing male and female students with the same credentials vying for the same campus laboratory job, male candidates were chosen over female candidates. More training and workshops must take place on countering bias in this industry.”
To make positive changes, we need an awareness of the problem and need to recognize how we are contributing.
Inspiring Women in STEM
One way that you can help is through educating your class on the inspiring famous women who defied the odds and followed pathways in STEM. Here are a few; I will share more throughout this series.
According to the Association for Computing Machinery, Shafi Goldwasser is one of today’s most notable female mathematicians. She was born in the U.S., but had joint citizenship with Israel, and grew up there.
She was always interested in math and science. When she returned to the U.S. for college, she attended Carnegie Mellon, University of California, Berkeley, and finally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During her college experience, she grew passionate about theoretical areas.
She became known “for transformative work that laid the complexity-theoretic foundations for the science of cryptography, and in the process pioneered new methods for efficient verification of mathematical proofs in complexity theory.”
Crytography is really fascinating for teens to look into. Students who are interested can dive deeper into these fields to learn more.
I’m guessing most of your students have heard of the supermodel Karlie Kloss. For starters, she’s known for walking in many major fashion shows, representing Adidas, being the face of L’Oreal, and now the host of Bravo’s Project Runway. But do they know about her other accomplishments and her passion for STEM?
According to ABC News, growing up she looked up to her father, a physician, and always had a passion for science. ‘“I definitely thought being a doctor would be my kind of career path. I always was really fascinated by science, by math and I loved the idea of being able to help people with a skill set,” she said.
Eventually, she began coding, and it turned into a passion; she began a summer camp, called Kode with Klossy. “Kode With Klossy empowers girls to learn to code and become leaders in tech. Founded in 2015 when Karlie Kloss began learning to code, Kode With Klossy hosts coding summer camps for girls aged 13-18 and fosters a national community furthering opportunities for girls in tech.”
Mashable tells us that Mae Jemison was the first African- American woman to travel to space in 1992. Mae Jemison studied engineering and medical research, and worked in public health as a Peace Corps doctor before she joined NASA in 1987.
She flew on the Endeavor as a science mission specialist, so she focused on experiments in weightlessness and motion sickness. In 1993, she left NASA and founded a private research company.
She’s famously quoted as saying,
“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
How do you plan to share more about these powerful STEM women with your class? Have students search for more information on one of these STEM-spirations this month! Please comment to share with others how you may incorporate this in your lesson plans. We'd love to hear ideas!
Click here to go on to PART TWO.
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