Getting Girls Involved in STEM

Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, however they hold less than 25% of jobs in STEM.

District 204 is hoping to change that statistic by helping high school girls get hands on experience in the field.

The district kicked off what they hope will be a reoccurring program for ladies interested in STEM, giving them the opportunity to learn about life in the field.

“For the past couple of years we’ve been talking about how can we provide more opportunities for females and what we can do about it then I think we just went for it and said lets dive in and lets get students interacting with professionals,” said CT Department Chair at Metea Valley High School, Brian Giovanini.

Giovanini spear headed the program, which was modeled after the district’s Business Advisory Panel, a professional group that gets students interacting with those who work in their chosen field, an approach that’s been successful in years past.

The ‘Girls in Engineering Roundtable’ gave 16 girls from each of the valley schools the opportunity to get their questions answered straight from the source.

“You know what you’re going to study in college and the classes you’re going to take but when you talk to professionals you get the opportunity to see what life is going to be like, and what you’re going to do in the field, how to interact with others and what skills do you need. I felt like this was a really good way to see that,” said Waubonsie Valley Junior, Lucero Manzanares.

For Waubonsie Valley sophomore, Maahi Shah, the roundtable discussions gave her the chance to learn more about different STEM careers.

“It’s really important to have connections because as high schoolers we aren’t really sure what we want to do in college or for a career but making these connections can help guide us,” said Shah.

The district hopes that guidance through these workshops will change the future of women in STEM careers.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.

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