Stamford STEMfems (pg3)

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In addition to participating in two hands-on STEM workshop options, each student attended a history-focused discussion led by CWHF staff using STEMfems module content. In these 90-minute workshops, students learned about the cultural and social factors that have led to the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields (myths about women’s interest and ability in science and math, the restricted spheres of employment traditionally reserved for women, etc.) and discussed the challenges women continue to experience in their pursuit of STEM careers.

Students also had an opportunity to examine data collected from their peers through the pre-event survey. Some highlights:

  • Out of 262 students responding to the survey, only 16 girls and 4 boys listed a woman’s name when asked to identify scientists, engineers, or inventors that inspire them.
  • 42% of girls indicate their abilities in math and science have been questioned by boys and 39% say their abilities have been questioned by other girls. The boys’ perception of the girls’ experiences, however, indicates a lower level of questioning.
  • 49% of girls indicated they felt they need to work harder to be taken seriously in STEM while only 19% of boys thought that to be the case.

Together, students explored the stories of three Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees: Dr. Barbara McClintock, Nobel Prize-winning genetics pioneer; Dr. Alice Hamilton, pioneer in industrial medicine whose research and advocacy led to the creation of OSHA; and Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the first female architects in the U.S.

Students then broke into groups of 3-4 and selected one of the challenges women face when considering a STEM career. Each group received a packet highlighting several CWHF Inductees in STEM fields and used the examples of Connecticut women (and their own creativity!) to create a PSA poster to help combat their chosen challenge. At the end of the workshop, each group presented its poster to the larger group.

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