The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Next club held its second annual Women in STEM Day in the South Cafeteria for the first three periods on Friday, February 15. The event featured five women who worked in different professions in the broad science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Women in STEM day strives to teach girls about STEM careers and foster an understanding of the possibilities outside the classroom.
Club advisor Nicole Hodgson explained that the SWE Next club came up with women in STEM day last year “because [they] wanted to have a day where female role models could come and show students real women in who are working in STEM positions.” The event was open for club members as well as any girl who has an interest in potentially pursuing a STEM career.
Junior Marielle Santos said, “It’s great how our club gives girls the opportunity to see all of these different women who work in STEM and all the different careers they can have.” Santos continued to explain how the event is “also important because it gives girls people to look up to.”
Club members felt that the event was important in order to encourage young women to take on a career in the STEM field despite the lack of women working in STEM. Santos elaborated, “The STEM field is dominated by men and it can be intimidating, especially when girls go into college classes and see that those classes are dominated by men.”
Hodgson further echoed this sentiment saying, “Studies show that girls need to see physical role models to picture themselves in these positions, so women in STEM day provides a great opportunity for the girls to see women who are actually working in a job they’re interested in.”
Senior Ashley Chung felt that the event was important to attend so she could get a sense of what a STEM career is really like. She stated, “I have only seen STEM through class work, and I think this is a good opportunity to see it in the real world.” Chung plans on working in engineering in the future, so seeing women who have experience in that field was a great opportunity for her.
Hodgson concluded, “If the day inspires just one or two girls, and if the girls just learn one new thing, they have a better sense of what STEM careers are really like.”