#WomenInSTEM isn’t a movement I ever expected to get involved in, even as recently as six months ago. That said, I couldn’t be any happier that I’m part of a team that is taking on this subject head-on.
So – backing things up a bit – I joined Tallan in May of 2018. I quickly noticed that our own office is, by a vast majority, male consultants. This made it all the more exciting to learn about the scholarship program we put in place at the beginning of 2018 to promote the #WomenInSTEM movement.
Plans to keep the scholarship going in 2019 were in place before my arrival, but the team that put the program together wanted to do more, and I wanted to be a part of that. I worked with some of our own #WomenInSTEM, alongside a few fantastic educators from Conard High School (in West Hartford, CT), to set up a presentation to some of the students at Conard. And – quite honestly – I learned A LOT from it.
Our presenter, Christina opened with a powerful, thought-provoking message. She asked the class to raise their hand if they associated what they saw with their concept of an “artist” when an image was shown. Here are the first three images, in order:
If you’re anything like myself or the rest of the classroom (students and teachers alike), you probably raised your hand when you saw the first or second images. Maybe even the third picture, like a few of the students. But I don’t think anyone raised their hand when this last image popped up.
And, honestly, that hurt to see.
I can’t speak from the perspective of a young woman considering her future. But I do hope that I can help more young women discover passions in fields they might not have ever considered before. And make no mistake: STEM careers cover a much wider range of opportunities than what might come to mind. Some more stereotypical STEM jobs include engineer, systems analyst, developer, or surgeon. But what about psychologists, archeologists, or zoologists? It’s hard to educate our youths when we don’t always understand the full scope of opportunities available.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on this issue – or know exactly how we can fix it. But I am proud to be more educated today than I was even just one week ago. A tremendous “thank you” is due to my teammates here at Tallan and my collaborators at Conard High School. If you want to learn more about our scholarship, the amazing team that helped put the program together, or anything else we do here at Tallan, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.