A new study called “Closing the STEM Gap” published in March 2018 by Microsoft surveyed more than 6,000 girls and young women on their interests and perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math. They found that girls lose interest in STEM careers as they get older. What can be done? The study cited recommendations to change this narrative. This included: role models and mentors, exposure to real-world examples of STEM, hands-on experience through participation in STEM-related clubs and activities, and encouragement from parents and educators could.
Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently interviewed one of her students to find out her perception about STEM after attending Interactive STEM Development Seminar for Underrepresented Students hosted by the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago. This was an additional program Johnson, who is implementing the recommendations in the study, suggested to her students.
This purpose of the seminar was to introduce and expose students to STEM career options and provide hands on experience with real world topics and projects leading to the development of the students as future leaders in the STEM fields.
What are your feelings about STEM?
“I feel like STEM is great for all kinds of people. It allows you to dive more in depth about the world, technology, etc.”
Do you see yourself as a person who would pursue a career in the STEM field? If so, which field and why?
“Yes, I see myself pursuing a career in sciences, specifically psychology or sociology, becaucareese I like to study the functions of the brain, the actions of humans, and why people do the things they do.”
What did you do at the STEM event you attended?
“At the event, I had to design a functional hand using cardboard, sticks, tape, and string. I also made slime. The instructors that were there were African American men who knew a GREAT deal about STEM.”
How would you describe your feeling about STEM? Are you intimidated? Do you feel like you would be supported as you pursue a career in this field?
“I am supported greatly by my family and different teachers who push me to join the STEM field. My feelings towards the STEM field are that I think it offers different opportunities to different types of people to work in an advanced field. Also, I feel like being a part of this field, I would be able to represent African-Americans in a positive way.”
To learn more about Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation visit https://www.weefchicago.org/
Meet Janessa, a high school scholar interested in STEM and recent participant in the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago.