4 answers

What can I do as a high school student to encourage more girls to pursue STEM fields in the future?

Asked Holbrook, Massachusetts

I am currently a senior in high school and I am interested in studying STEM in college. I realize that women in the STEM field are far and few between, so what can I do as an individual to help more girls explore STEM fields in school?
#women-in-stem #math #science #engineering #technology

4 answers

Victoria’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

Hi Annette,


I love your question!!!


There are so many ways to encourage more girls to pursue STEM fields. Start by looking at each school or organization you belong to for opportunities - if they don't exist, create them. What I mean is create a STEM club or work on a STEM project together to spark imagination. Start with a small achievable project. Find a STEM activity that is relevant to your current interests and student body. It doesn't necessarily need to cost money. You could do a lesson or project on "weather" or "space" or volunteer on a community project that is important to you. Or invite a teacher or a speaker/practitioner to talk about STEM careers. You could start a mentoring or tutoring program. Try to make the experiences as hands on as possible.


Its really important to network and find other girls/women who are also interested in STEM. Join a student chapter of IEEE when you get to college. Study with other students interested in STEM. Keep up to date on new innovations - watch TED Talks, go to free lectures at school/the local college/planetarium. Talk to anyone who will listen about STEM and how important STEM is for our future since 70% jobs in 2020 will require a STEM background. The most important thing is to give and encourage girls/women STEM experiences and demystify these fields. Once you build a radio or see a planet in a telescope or see a cell under a microscope, you get it: this makes STEM real and approachable.


Finally always pay if forward and make opportunities and time for girls/women as you advance in your career. Definitely visit your high school or grammar school and spread the word that STEM is a great opportunity. You are a role model right now and can definitely encourage more girls to pursue STEM fields.

Victoria recommends the following next steps:

  • Tell us about a STEM project you decide to pursue!
  • Check out this link at the Verizon.com website and read all the STEM articles for ideas: https://www.verizon.com/search/SearchResults?Dy=1&Nty=1&Ntt=STEM&ES=Corporate&smu=Y

Kate’s Answer

Updated New Jersey, New Jersey

Hi Annette,


Victoria listed some great advice! You could reach out to a science teacher at your school to see if they would be interested in sponsoring a STEM club. I know when I was in high school, I was part of a STEM club and we would actually go to competitions to compete against other high schools. It was a great way to see how STEM could be fun and not just about homework.


I would also look into joining student associations depending on what major you pick in college. I was part of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) during college. Aside from hosting career and networking events, SWE also had a few event each year where we put on a day of activities to get local girls interested in STEM. You could also get together with a few other high school students to put on an event for local elementary, middle school or girl scouts in the area. There are a lot of good activities online that do not cost much. Some examples are building a candy bridge out of all sorts of candy or building a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Hands on activities are a great way to spark interest in STEM.

Kate recommends the following next steps:

  • Talk to your favorite science teacher at your school about starting a STEM Club.
  • Put on an interactive event for other kids in your area to get them excited about STEM.
Updated
Kate - Thank you for your answer. We need more advice like this, now more than ever! There are more than 1k unanswered questions on CV right now. Hoping you'll answer a few more this week!

Christopher’s Answer

Updated New Jersey, New Jersey

Hi Annette,

Your question just paints you as a leader for sure :) ....keep that trait!


I can only add to some amazing advice that you've already gotten. You and a some friends should check out a few Summer Engineering programs (offered by Universities around the country) to test your respective interests in the field(s) of Engineering. That will be a ton of fun and give you a genuine perspective on what engineering is all about. Programs of note who "walk the walk" in terms of Women in their respective engineering programs? Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan (with the latter having nearly 1/3 of their students from undergrad through PhD being women. Look up Debbie Taylor, AD of Women in Science and Engineering). Once you're done with those summer experiences (and there is more than a singular experience to be had), then spread the word to your colleagues.


Note: Some of those aforementioned experiences end in significant scholarships to the school....just sayin'!

Tina’s Answer

Updated

My only addition to the comments above is to keep talking about it. The best way to encourage more girls/young women to pursue STEM fields is to talk about it. If your school has a STEM club, join and promote it. If not, start one! Take every opportunity you can to get in front of groups of young people and talk about it, encouraging them to ask questions if they think they may be interested.

Tina recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for a STEM club at your school. Start one if one does not exist.