Getting Girls to Grow Into STEM Fields

Miranda Nettles is one of more than 100 students–getting doses and drops of education. It helps demystify the sometimes intimidating worlds of science, technology, engineering, and math. They’re more commonly called STEM.

“Growing up my parents taught me that sometimes you have to work harder because you are a girl, and men dominate most fields, so they should be inspired enough not to be intimidated,” said 10th Grader Miranda Nettles. Organizers say girls and women have traditionally been in science fields.

More than 100 girls and 70 parents took part in Saturday's event.
More than 100 girls and 70 parents took part in Saturday’s event.

“It’s important because they are an underrepresented group,” said the President of the Alabama School of Math and Science Dr. Monica Motley. “So having a diverse population in the stem fields is important, having them at the table because they offer a unique perspective.” There is some evidence the gap between men and women in these fields is narrowing. Dr. Motley said one issue is a lack of role models. That is why they put girls together in classrooms and in front of women already working in these fields. The keynote speaker is a mechanical engineer who told me she didn’t experience sexism in science. She was only limited by the barriers she put in front of herself.

“I never really felt like I was relegated to only taking notes because I guarantee you those guys wanted me pulling my own weight,” said Austal Mechanical Engineer Barbara Turrens. This is part of a larger push by educators to introduce girls to stem fields. Last September Airbus continued a program inviting girl scouts to their Mobile offices to learn about engineering careers.

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