How is the world changing with respect to STEM?
From what I have seen in my career, two important changes are happening. First, STEM subjects are becoming more accessible and easier to learn. Any enthusiastic person with an internet connection can learn the basics, or study particular topics in depth.
Second, rather than a more traditional view of STEM subjects as highly technical, rigid, and prescribed, STEM is now more popularly viewed as collaborative, creative, and open ended. And while, as a teacher, I believe taking time to learn the foundations of STEM subjects in a school setting is essential, gone are the days of thinking all scientists work in a laboratory and every problem has only one correct solution.
What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
We can help move women forward in STEM by seeking out those who are enthusiastic and encouraging them to take on leadership roles. I believe with the changes in the industry—moving toward more collaborative, innovative, and interdisciplinary STEM work—there are all kinds of leadership opportunities available. And there are certainly qualified female candidates for such roles. I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of all employers to see the value of female leadership, especially in STEM fields, where there are so few women.
It is also the responsibility of women to support and encourage one another and have the courage to take on leadership when it presents itself. More women in leadership will serve as inspiration for women to strive to move forward.
My experiences in STEM
I am grateful to have had primarily positive experiences in my professional career. In my current place of work, I am supported and respected by my colleagues and superiors. I have been encouraged to pursue professional development, including completing my doctoral studies, and have been given every resource necessary to excel in my teaching.
Crescent School has been an incredible place to work and I find my career tremendously fulfilling. Sadly, what has been a constant since I entered university is the lack of female leadership in the field. The majority of my professors and all of my career superiors have been men. While these people have all been positive influences, I would have benefited from mentorship from women.