We are excited to announce that we will be sponsoring a great new Junior Achievement (JA) event next month called the JA Girl's Dream Fair. The goal of the event is to get West Michigan's 7th & 8th grade girls interested in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
According to JA, a student's interests in 7th & 8th grade are the strongest predicting factor of whether or not that student will graduate from college in a STEM field. Three out of Broadview's 15 engineers are women, plus myself (while not technically an engineer, I do have a STEM background and use it in my role as marketing director).
That puts us at 25% female in STEM positions, which is about the same as the national average. We would love to improve our ratio, but we don't often run into qualified female candidates, which is why we find the JA Girl's Dream Fair to be so important, and why all four of us women will be volunteering.
JA also cites national survey findings, which show that two-thirds of teenagers will steer away from STEM simply because they don't know anyone in those fields or understand what those people do. We are ecstatic for the opportunity to share our experiences as women in STEM fields with these girls, in the hopes that they may someday grow up to be engineers, or astrophysicists, or whatever it is they find fulfilling.
All four of us have had our own unique career paths, speckled with our own victories and defeats. I've been interviewing our three engineering women to understand how they got to be where they are today and will be writing a blog post over the next week to share what I've learned, and what we hope some of these young girls may learn from us.