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HOW THE U.S. CAN ENGAGE GIRLS IN STEM

The problem has been around forever. Young men go into science, technology, engineering and math at a far greater rate than young women.
Men are twice as likely to be in STEM positions as women, and one out of every five female science and engineering graduates has left the labor force completely.
This in spite of grade-school girls displaying the same aptitude and interest for these subjects as their young male counterparts in recent tests.
And in spite of the fact that the number of female workers in science and engineering has increased a lot since 1970.
What can be done about this?  
 
At least one answer has to do with increasing efforts to engage girls in STEM.
A number of “stakeholders” have recently decided to effect by changing the incorrect perception that young men are naturally better at STEM skills and by offering positive encouragement to young women with an interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
 
Here are two instances where these stakeholders have undertaken this attempt at change:
1. The Girls and STEM Summit: This “summit” met on Sept 14th with over 100 young girls from Baltimore City middle and high schools at the headquarters of the athletic company Under Amour.
There they discussed STEM enrichment as well as STEM innovation and entrepreneurship.  
The keynote speech was delivered by Melissa Pickering, founder of iCreate to Educate, a software company that prides itself on providing schools with simple software and apps to "create and share their stories through animation".  
Ms Pickering, herself an excellent role model for young women in the STEM field, began her career with Walt Disney Imagineering as a roller coaster engineer.
There at Disney she was shocked to find that out of 130 engineers, only five were female!  
She said she believed that "We can expose kids--particularly girls--to problem-solving and creating, and that might lead them to opportunities outside the classroom".
 
2. Girls Inc and Discovery Education. Girls Inc, a nonprofit that traces its origins to New England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, works to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.  
They do this with the help of "trained, mentoring professionals in a positive all-girl environment".
They are teaming with Discovery Education to offer Discovery’s STEM Camp resources to girls across the US.
 
RobotsLAB wishes these interested stakeholders well.
We want to see more young women in the STEM field, and hope the programs discussed above will facilitate the coming of that day.
We would also like to point out that our RobotsLAB BOX with its attendant robots, makes a great source of inspiration for students interested in the field, offering practical demonstrations of the importance of STEM learning..
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  • Oct 21, 2013 2:00:00 PM

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