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STEM, Where Are All The Girls At?

Did you know that GeoSpatial Innovations (GSI) is a women owned business? GSI is proud to be a women owned software company. In addition to the owners, women are throughout the organization in design, engineering, management, and technology positions. According to the U.S. census, in 1970, women represented only 3 percent of engineers, 14 percent of life and physical scientists, 15 percent of mathematical and computer workers, and 17 percent of social scientists. Although women make up nearly half of the working population, they remain underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) occupations. In 2011, 26 percent of STEM workers were women and 74 percent were men.

There has been a growing effort to get more women in STEM fields from a variety of organizations that I will list in the resources at the end of the article. Today, I’m introducing you to a few of our employees that are examples of women who made their way into a STEM occupation.

eera- Support Engineer (University of Texas at Austin)

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  I changed my mind a lot – Teacher, Doctor, Musician, Imagineer (Disney Park designer).
  • How has that changed and why? I think over time throughout high school and college, I really enjoyed my math and science classes and knew I wanted to choose a more technical career path.
  • Where did you go to college? What did you study? The University of Texas at Austin, Geographic Information Systems
  • What do you like about being a Support Engineer?  I really like the problem solving aspect of my job. When speaking with customers, I enjoy learning new solutions to problems and finding out what we can do to make their experience using our software better.
  • Why should girls get involved in STEM? Women make up about half of the US work force and I think we’re extremely under-represented in STEM jobs. It might be easier sometimes for women to choose a more traditional career path, rather than enter such a male-dominated sector. But, I’m a big advocate for choosing what you love to do and if a science/technical job is more appealing, then definitely give it a try and don’t let stereotypes hold you back.

Laura- Senior Electrical Engineer (Gonzaga University)

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  A music composer
  • How has that changed and why? My family wanted me to have a more practical job and I was good at Math and Science so I choose to go into engineering and pursue music for fun.
  • Where did you go to college? What did you study? Gonzaga, Electrical Engineering
  • What do you like about being an Electrical Engineer?  I enjoy the creativity of designing how features are going to work to meet the needs of our clients.  I also enjoy testing because it’s kind of like solving a puzzle trying to find the pieces that might not work correctly and making the product stronger by finding those weak spots.
  • Why should girls get involved in STEM? There are so many opportunities for the use of math and science skills, the possibilities are really endless.  There will always be a need for people who can think logically to analyze problems and find ways to solve them.

Cammy – Software Tester (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  Cartographer
  • How has that changed and why? When I was in college, maps were no longer being created by hand but by using computer technology so that is why I took the Geography (GIS) route.
  • Where did you go to college? What did you study? Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, geography (GIS) and minor in computer information systems
  • What do you like about being a Software Tester?  Computer technology is always changing/improving so you are always learning something new.  Software testing doesn’t get boring.
  • Why should girls get involved in STEM? If girls are interested in STEM jobs, there is no reason why they can’t succeed in these areas especially in Technology where kids are exposed to computers at a younger age now and have the opportunity to take computer classes starting in junior high on up.

Laurie- Business Consultant/Project Manager (Eastern Washington University)

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  A nurse
  • How has that changed and why? I gravitated more towards technical and management roles, as well as business courses versus chemistry and other training that would have been required for nursing.
  • Where did you go to college? What did you study? Eastern Washington University, majors in Marketing and General Business, minors in Communications and International Business
  • What do you like about being a Business Consultant/Project Manager? It’s very interesting, fast-paced and varied
  • Why should girls get involved in STEM? Girls should get involved in STEM jobs because this sector is a huge component of business in the U.S. Females are a natural fit for many of these roles and they would find them very rewarding.

Learn more about opportunities for women in STEM?

The White House- Office of Science and Technology Policy

The STEM to STEAM Initiative

Pretty Brainy: Empowering Girls to Gain STEAM

Girls Who Code

The National Girl Collaborative

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