Even as schools encourage young women and girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), women are still underrepresented among students with STEM majors and careers. Black and Latino girls are even less likely than their white counterparts to focus on STEM during and after college.
The American Heart Association is working to close this gender gap by hosting its inaugural Capital Area STEM Goes Red event in Ascension Parish, held Nov. 9. The event, hosted at St. Amant High School, brought together more than 100 high school students, girls and boys, to participate in networking opportunities, speed mentoring, panel discussions, hands only activities and breakout sessions with leaders in STEM industries. STEM Goes Red is sponsored by local Life is Why sponsor Our Lady of the Lake, CF Industries, Entergy, and Providence Engineering.
“It’s such a joy to be part of STEM Goes Red this year,” said Ronda Matthews, supervisor of career and technical education, Ascension Parish School Board. “By the time they reach middle school, a disproportionate number of girls have already ruled out a career in STEM without even exploring the vast possibilities the field has to offer. It is my hope that this event will show these students that the sky is truly the limit for their goals and aspirations.”
The goal of STEM Goes Red is to deepen the pipeline of women entering STEM careers by exposing primarily high school girls--but also all students--to the innovative strides women are making in fields like health care and engineering. The Capital Area’s STEM Goes Red’s 2022 program featured a hands-on activity where students had to construct the tallest structure using marshmallows and toothpicks.