Someday they’d like to be scientists, computer programmers, engineers or mathematicians, but now they’re female students at Burnsville High School and they’ve started a new club to encourage and support girls interested in STEM careers.
The Women in STEM club began last spring when senior Emily Reynolds realized the need for a club for girls who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). She knows that women are under-represented in STEM jobs and she wants to change that dynamic.
Emily approached science teacher Liz Davison about being adviser and then was joined by three other students (Fiona Chow, Katherine Do and Anna Warmka) who collaborated over the summer to develop the club, which began this fall.
“My favorite part about Women in STEM is the encouragement it provides,” said Emily, who said girls aren’t generally encouraged to pursue jobs in STEM. “But with Women in STEM we are surrounded by mentors that make sure that we know that we can succeed in STEM careers and that we, as women, are needed there. Their encouragement is so helpful in making sure we stay interested in STEM.”
As a new group, the girls are using the laser cutter to make ornaments as a fundraiser for field trips, other projects and possibly a scholarship. They’ve also heard from their first guest speaker who discussed her education, career path and current job.
“Another big part of Women in STEM is making sure girls know all the different options they have in the STEM field,” said Anna. “A lot of girls are interested and good at math and science, but they think if they go into the STEM field they'll have to be a mechanical engineer or something similar. We want to teach them about all the different fields with STEM, like biomedical sciences, environmental sciences, etc.”
“Women in STEM Club provides female students with a supportive and encouraging community where they could comfortably explore their STEM interest,” according to Fiona, who encourages BHS students to join the group.
“I hope that with the club we can start making progress towards getting more girls to pursue and continue with STEM careers,” adds Emily.
In addition to Davidson, advisors are Jackie Jones, industrial technology teacher, and Orion Patrie, engineering instructor.