Today's Wednesday and the 6th day of our summer "Real Girl Leaders" Series. In this series, we are sharing REAL teen girls from the Boston area and their original and unique ideas on how to change the lives of women and girls in Boston. In the fall of 2012 we challenged teens in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville to come up with an answer, a plan and a budget to answer the question, "If you had 1 year and $1000 what would you change about the role of women and girls in your school, community or city?"
Today's answer comes from 15 year old Jwahir Sundai. She writes about women and girls in STEM professions and attends Cambridge Ringe and Latin School.
Taking the Road Less Traveled
Women are continuously underrepressented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In 2000, women earned only 18 percent of physics bachelors degrees, 17 percent of engineering bachelor's degrees, 18 percent of computer science and only eleven percent of executives at Fortune 500 tech companies are women. Women fill up nearly half of America's job market and work force, but represent less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. Particularly, women of color represent an even less percentage. The lack of women in these fields are causing young women of the future generation to feel uncomfortable and deterred from STEM fields instead of motivated to overcome such barriers. Young women aren't viewing STEM fields as a viable option. The community needs examples of their potential, exposure to the wide range of choices in these fields, and recognition of the numerous opportunities in the area. With one thousand dollars, I will be able to host the Women's STEM Networking Dinner under the Boston GLOW organization with the support of E^3: Empowering, Encouraging, Eliminating Barriers.
"We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly." - Margaret Atwood
Networking is an essential skill in life that is developed. To be able to effectively network can uncover numerous hidden opportunities and information and foster signficantly meaningful relationships. Moreover, the women's STEM Netowrking Dinner will implement the significant advantages that networking supplies with the widsom that further experienced women in STEM fields are able to communicate. The futre leaders of tomorrow will be able to convey their experiences and what they wished they had known to the future leaders through an extensive casual conversation. These students will be able to inquire about different positions in STEM fields, opportunities in the broad range of STEM fields and relate the given information about other's experiences to their own.
Role models are a significant factor in the Women's STEM Netowrking Dinner. Role models are tremendously important because of their impact on our choices and outlook of out outcomes. We use role models as an inspirational tool and "blueprint" for our potential fture. They help fill in the gaps between where we are now and the dreams of who we want to be with their experiences. Every women invited the the Women's STEM Networking Dinner is considerably important because of their impact on the young females. Young women in their community will be exposed to women in STEM fields in positions of power, authority and nontraditional fields of employment for women.
The mission of the Women's STEM Netowrking Dinner is to provide young women (particularly underrepesented minorities) of the community with an enriching life experience through developing their networking skills while exposing them to the wide range of professionals in STEM fields (science, technology, engirneering and mathematics) who are both interested and advocating for their success in such fields.
Our objectives are to encourage interaction with the women in STEM fields both within the Women's STEM Networking Dinner and outside the dinner, include STEM organizations in the Greater Boston Area to converse with the girls in the community about the different opportunties in the area and host talks that will provide young females with a future opportunity to educate themselves about the overall stem experience.
Keys to Success
Women leader's in STEM fields will be paired with the younger generation of STEM leaders and due to the encouragement of the staff, it will be inevitable that these groups will have a significantly meaningful discussion that will serve them as an advatage in the future. Before the main event begins there will be given handouts that state questions to ask during the event that will act as a fall back for a particularly diesengaging situation. Furthermore, the attendees will have high expectation of the Women's STEM Networking Event but the staff will have exceptionally higher expectaiton in which granted mindset for excellence we will achieve exceed these set expectations.
Personally, I consider myself to be qualified for the initiative of the initiation of the Women's STEM Networking Event. I am currently involved in several progams relating to leadership and STEM fields such as being a Cambridge Science Festival intern, Mentor for the HSSP's MIT Leadership Training INstitute, the MIT Student Representatives Program and the Harvard Athena Program.
Particularly, I am the Executive Director of E3: Empowering, Encouraging nd ELiminating Barriers which I founded through MIT's LTI program. It is a serious mentoring program for motivated, underrepresented females in greades 7-12 interesed in STEM fields.It is currently held at the Microsoft New England REsearch Development (NERD) Center on Sundays from 1-3pm. OUr mentees are all middle and high schoolers in the Greater Boston Area. For more information, please visit our website at www.e3-stem.org
All in all, we challenge the young women of the nation to go the road less traveled. Through the Women's STEM Neworking Dinner, I strive for every woman that leaves from this event changed and motivated to overcome any obstacle presented to them.I hope to widen the interest in STEM fields while elevating the young women's expecations of theselves. Overall, I aspire for young women to have a desire to pursue nontraditional fields to recognize the large gap in STEM by striving to fill it with achieving, enthusiastic women who are passionate about becoming the future leaders of tomorrow.
For more details on Jwahir, her project, the other 9 IGNITE Change Girl Leaders or how YOU TOO can be a girl leader with Boston GLOW winning scholarships, prizes and mentorship in developing your OWN community change project, please contact Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org