The Tribal Times

There is a lack of women in STEM despite the advantages STEM careers bring

by Lauryn Porter, Staff Writer

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According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

 

Women dominate half of the jobs in the U.S. economy, but have fewer than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

 

Lindi Porter is currently enrolled at Kennesaw State University (KSU) and is working towards a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering. In her three years at KSU, she has noticed an excessive lack of women in her STEM courses.

 

“In my circuits analysis class, I am the only female out of 32 students,” Porter said. “Being the only female in a class of 31 males makes me feel strange, I stick out because I am not just the only woman but a woman of color.”

 

In an article posted by The State of Opportunity, it was found that women in STEM fields are earning less money, being gender stereotyped, and their ideas not being taken seriously.

 

“Personally, I have found the STEM field to be fulfilling,” Kennesaw State University College of Engineering Assistant Professor in Civil and Construction Engineering Dr. Roneisha Worthy said. “I have experienced subtle discrimination [in the STEM field] such as questioning my work more or diminishing my ideas and contributions. While these actions are meant to make me fall back or speak up less, they actually fuel my passion and motivate me to do more.”

 

McEachern offers various courses that can be a gateway into a STEM career. One of the STEM classes offered is engineering, taught by Michael Lee. Out of the 2,239 students at McEachern, 80 students are currently taking the class this semester and only 10 are women.

 

“There is a lack of women in my classes probably due to a fear of math and a lack of mentors,” Lee said. “Female students do not see women as engineers so they do not picture themselves as engineers.”

 

Sophomore Sarah Lynch is a student in Lee’s foundations of engineering class. Being one of the 10 women to take Lee’s class, her interest in taking the class came with her love of math and science.

 

“I wanted to learn how to do things with my hands and I wanted to be a part of the challenging aspects of education,” Lynch said. “I do not know if I wanted to be an engineer but I love math and science.”

 

In an article posted by the State of Opportunity, girls can excel in STEM subjects when they feel confident in their math and science skills.

 

In order to inspire women at McEachern to be interested in taking STEM classes the school needs to provide exposure by encouraging female students to take the courses.

 

“We need current female engineers to promote how fun engineering can be,” Lee said. “Students also need to overcome their fear of math because it is not as bad as it seems.”

 

If you have an interest in pursuing a STEM career such as engineering or becoming a chemist or scientist do not allow a fear of math or science to stop you. There is always a possibility that you can find a career you will love.

I live by a Henry Ford quote which says, ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,’” Worthy said. “We have to inspire our girls at a young age that they can do STEM. If we inspire them that math isn’t just for boys or science is a girl thing, too, I am certain we will begin to see our numbers increase.”

 

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There is a lack of women in STEM despite the advantages STEM careers bring