In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, STEM Next joins an esteemed panel hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
On Friday, February 11, 2022, national leaders demonstrating a commitment to girls of color across science and technology, discussed critical topics like developing a STEM identity and sense of belonging, mentorship, and creating deliberate pathways for young women to pursue STEM.
The panel was one a many thoughtful conversations co-hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Smithsonian Institution, in celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The importance of family and community engagement for girls in STEM was an immediate observation to moderator, Dr. Jedidah Isler, Assistant Director for STEM Opportunity & Engagement, OSTP, for the panel “Creating Pathways for a Lifetime of Leadership for Girls of Color in Science and Technology.”
During introductions, almost every panelist noted the importance of family and community engagement to support the girls they serve.
Nikole Collins-Puri, CEO, Techbridge Girls
Janeen Uzzell, CEO, National Society of Black Engineers
Diana Albarrán Chicas, Co-Founder, Latinas in STEM
Ron Ottinger, Executive Director, STEM Next Opportunity Fund
Czarina Salido, Founder, Taking Up Space
“Our girls know science in their everyday lives, but because we frame science in such a rote learning way, through a white, dominant male culture perspective, that we don’t even see it for ourselves when we’re doing it every day; and our culture leans into that,” said Collins-Puri, CEO of Techbridge Girls.
Janeen Uzzell, NSBE CEO, emphasized the importance of mentorship for young women.
“Million Girls Moonshot was really built on the kinds of experiences mentioned here todayand the research that shows that the after school, out-of-school and summer learning spaces are just so essential to helping young girls really get that spark…to see the joy of science,” said STEM Next Executive Director, Ron Ottinger.
Ottinger also referenced the 2010 Executive Report to the President, Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future, as still underscoring the importance of the work.
Taking Up Space Founder, Czarina Salido shares that we have to get girls interested earlier. “We had to change our program to start (girls) younger, so that we didn’t lose them at the junior high stage.”
“We also need to be realistic that the needs across different stages are very different and there isn’t one solution that works across the board,” said Diana Albarrán Chicas, Co-Founder, Latinas in STEM.