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How to Get More Young Women Interested in STEM

women in stemGood news. According to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s Center on Education and the Workforce, careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are on the rise.

By 2023, a projected 2.6 million new jobs will be added to the workforce, creating a high demand for qualified employees with STEM backgrounds.

However, women only make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce, despite these promising career figures. Luckily, there are many programs nationwide that are working to get more and more young women interested in the STEM field. One such program is DeVry University’s HerWorld program.

Created seventeen years ago, HerWorld is a program to “support and develop high school girls’ interest in STEM,” as Dr. Donna M. Loraine, provost/vice president of academic affairs at DeVry University told the Seaside Courier. “Our focus for HerWorld today is to encourage girls’ interest in these subjects in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors who can show them that careers in STEM are challenging but realizable.”

This March, HerWorld is setting up events around the country, allowing thousands of young women to interact and learn from experienced women in STEM careers.  This will help build their confidence in choosing and (more importantly) sticking with their STEM program in high school, through college and beyond.

As the Seaside Courier notes, by showing teenage girls that there are women who will support them through their journey in STEM, HerWorld is hoping that more women will stick with the tough STEM programs instead of choosing a less-rigorous non-STEM program by the time they graduate from college.

This year, HerWorld has some pretty strong supporters and partners, including actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik from the TV shows The Big Bang Theory and Blossom. “Though I am currently employed primarily as an actress and not a neuroscientist, I still benefited from a role model showing me what I could achieve in the sciences,” says Bialik. “I think young girls today deserve the same thing and I want to give them the confidence they need to succeed in STEM.”

Even President Obama praised the efforts of these programs, addressing the growing need for more kids involved in STEM education during his 2014 State of the Union speech: “Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy–problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math,” said the President. “Some of this change is hard…But it is worth it—and it’s working.”

Our blog here at Dream It Do It Nebraska is overflowing with posts about programs aimed at getting more kids involved in STEM. We hope that all of these stories—with more coming every week—will build your confidence in choosing the path to an awesome future.

Photo credit: Commerce.gov

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