Friday, April 27, 2012

Hot Topic: Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

The Washington Post reports that The White House Council on Women and Girls held a gathering in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building focusing on girls in the science, engineering, technology and mathematics fields.

The audience included Girl Scouts of varying ages, college students, teachers, parents and mentors. All listened as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson gave her introductory remarks and as a panel of some of the nation’s most accomplished women in technology spoke about their personal experiences and the challenges women face in pursuing a career in the STEM fields. The panel included Jackson along with astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman, Facebook Director of Engineering Jocelyn Goldfein, Edmonds Community College President Jean Hernandez and Howard University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders President Bianca Bailey.

The White House Blog reports that Girls in STEM, featuring young women scientists and engineers who wowed the President and the nation at the White House Science Fair in February, shines a spotlight on these extraordinary young role models and their exciting projects – ranging from a machine that detects buried landmines, to a prosthetic hand device, to a lunchbox that uses UV light to kill bacteria on food.

Following the release of this video, several of America’s top women in science and engineering took the stage to talk about how pursuing their interest in STEM led them to exciting and rewarding careers. Moderated by Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and an engineer by training – who also delivered opening remarks – this panel included the following: Jocelyn Goldfein, Director of Engineering at Facebook, Dr. Cady Coleman, NASA Astronaut, Colonel, U.S. Air Force, retired, Bianca Bailey, President of the Howard University Chapter of Engineers without Borders, Dr. Jean Hernandez, President of Edmonds Community College.

Although women and girls continue to be significantly underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, new Girl Scout research shows that it’s not for lack of interest. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM.