Monday, September 29, 2014

STEM Chat with Alisha Sarag-Sieminski

STEM chat
STEM chat with Alisha Sarang-Sieminski
September 29 2014
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Director of SCOPE, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
If I could tell a young woman pursuing STEM one thing it would be that when you feel the small slights that happen, or you flinch just a little bit about the way someone says something (sexist), or you feel like your knowledge is questioned, it's not just you. It's part of a larger system and other people experience it too. And other people notice it. You are not alone. And though this may not resonate with you yet, tuck it away somewhere for later when you start to question whether you belong here. And then find yourself some really good allies.

My dream project is to grow really awesome tissue-based models for testing pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

The best advice I ever received was to (this is going to sound cliché) just try things and to believe in myself. Starting from that place helps keep all the little voices in my head telling me I can't do something or I shouldn't do something a little quieter. And takes me in some amazing directions.

I lead by a combination of benevolent dictatorship and consensus. What brings these together is finding the win-win for people as much as possible and being transparent about my motives and constraints. While I'm the one in charge, I also think that all the stakeholders need to be heard.

I'm proud that I have followed my heart and instincts about decisions I have made in my life. There's inevitably a lot of work at every step to make things happen, but leading from my gut has taken me places I wouldn't have expected and has always done me right.

© 2014 IIR Holdings, LTD. All Rights Reserved.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It’s Time: Energize Your STEM Initiatives Next Month in Boston

The start of a new school year is a fresh start to energize your STEM initiatives.

Your future STEM talent pipeline begins at the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit - Boston - October 21, 2014 at the Center for Women and Business Bentley University.  Download the brochure for full program details:

Engage with major corporations, leading educators, top policy makers, students and other catalysts who are actively working to fill jobs now and advance women into the STEM workforce.

Women in Stem Agenda Highlights include:
  • Featured Presentation: The New Frontier of Engaging Men as Full Partners in the Advancement of Women | Center for Women and Business, Bentley University
  • Panel: Strategies for Leveraging Partnerships Between Key Stakeholders: Business, Government, Education and Philanthropy | BattelleED, Dassault Systèmes, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, MIT
  • Best Practices in Developing, Scaling & Sustaining Mentor Programs that Deliver Results | STEMconnector™
  • Smart STEM Investing: What to Measure |  Tata Consultancy
  • Broadening the Breadth of the STEM Workforce Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity |
  • Panel Discussion: Employee Engagement: Programs that Work to Engage and Retain Women in STEM | Northeastern University, Draper Laboratory , Hanscom Air force,Pfizer Clinical Research and Development
  • Xerox Women in STEM: A Passage to the Future | Xerox
  • Panel Discussion: Future of the American workforce: how to recruit and retain talent in the new generation of STEM graduates |  Fidelity Investments,  Parexel, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Covidien
  • The STEM Exchange | These exchanges are designed to help students evaluate career options and assist companies in identifying local emerging talents for mentoring, internship and recruitment programs.

Download the full brochure for more information:

Participate in this unique opportunity to create your future STEM workforce.Learn more and join the movement. Register today:

Check out our monthly STEM Chat Newsletter that features the amazing women of STEM:

Looking forward to seeing you at the Summit!

The Women in STEM Exchange Summits Team

Monday, September 15, 2014

STEM Chat with Claire Duggan

STEM chat
STEM chat with Claire Duggan
September 15, 2014
Claire Duggan, Director for Programs and Operations, The Center for STEM Education, Northeastern University
If I could tell a young woman pursuing STEM one thing it would be – seek out female mentors pursing STEM pathways – teachers/neighbors/family members.

To me, a successful woman is someone that knows themselves, pursue their passions, but never forgets to make time for the people they come in contact with personally and professionally

In high school, I wish I had known more STEM professionals and/or had the opportunity to participate in stem research experience – especially in engineering. I had no knowledge of the field and career pathways available when I was in high school.

The very next thing on my to do list is to commit to paper several ideas I have for new STEM K-12 educational efforts.

The best way to unwind after a long day is is to play with my grandchildren.

If I had a one year sabbatical I would travel around the world and visit schools/classrooms to see firsthand how we are educating children across the globe - then move to build collaborations and accelerate the sharing of best practices.

The biggest misconception about women in stem is they are all the same

I'm proud that I have helped with the development and implementation of multiple STEM education initiatives and now am supporting young students and faculty seeking to engage in this work.

© 2014 IIR Holdings, LTD. All Rights Reserved.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

12 Organizations for Women in STEM

Time and time again we are reminded about the lack of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) professions.  Even though women hold around half of all jobs in the United States, they still only occupy less than a quarter of all STEM jobs.

How can we fix this?

In order to see a significant change in STEM, we must look towards the future.  The young women and girls of today will be the leaders and groundbreakers of tomorrow. 

Numerous organizations have been developed to encourage young woman to pursue careers in STEM.  These organizations pave the way for girls to be an integral part of the next generation of tech workers.

If you are seeking fresh ideas on how to close the STEM gender gap, or are looking to get involved in a new and exciting organization, here is a list of 12 organizations that are making a difference:

            The NGCP brings together organizations throughout the US that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.  It includes 31 networks of professionals and researchers, covering 39 states, which allows collaboration between 12,800 organizations, serving 8.35 million girls.

            The Icebox Derby is a build-it-race-it competition, requiring 30 female participants to build racecars out of recycled refrigerators.  The refrigerators, provided by ComEd, a refrigerator recycling company, will be transformed into vehicles required to complete five laps around a track at speeds up to 15 mph.  The Icebox Derby is a Chicago-based competition, and is meant to get young woman involved in engineering.  ComEd is partnered by organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and the Chicago Urban League.

            Funded by AT&T and the National Science Foundation, respectively, these programs offer girls from low income and underserved communities the chance to experience STEM and plan for futures in STEM fields.

4) L’Oreal’s

            L’Oreal’s new web site aims to connect girls who love science and give them the chance to learn about women in STEM fields.  It includes resources such as a list of summer science camps for girls and the opportunity for STEM-enthusiasts to blog about their experiences.

            Based in Austin, Texas, Girlstart provides year-round STEM education programs for girls in grades K-12.  The organization offers after-school programs, summer camps, and an annual Girls in STEM conference.

            The AAUW provides STEM education to more than 11,000 girls each year.  Its national STEM camps and conferences target middle-school aged girls because they believe that time in a girls life is vital to maintaining their interest in STEM.  Their goal is to encourage young girls to begin taking courses that will lead to a future in STEM.

            These two organizations are working together in hopes to engage one million STEM mentors to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

            The Science Club for Girls has been connecting girls in grades K-12 with female-mentor scientists since 1994.  Over 1,000 girls participate annually in SCFG programs.  The programs operate throughout five cities in eastern Massachusetts, including Cambridge, Lawrence, Boston, Newton, and Fitchburg.  The Science Club for Girls focuses on subjects like chemistry, engineering, archaeology, environmental science, and physics.

            This organization is “dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.”  They actively encourage girls to ask questions and solve problems while interacting with women and men in STEM.

            After receiving funding from the Clinton Global Initiative, the NCWIT will now be able to test their AspireIT initiative.  Volunteer high school or college women will run the program.  These women will lead designing and computer programs for younger girls.  The overall motive for the AspireIT initiative is to have these young women become role models and develop leadership skills while encouraging younger girls to pursue computing.

            Black Girls Code is dedicated to growing the amount of colored women in the STEM world by working with girls aged seven to seventeen.  The organization’s website states they hope these girls can become “innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.”

            Women@NASA went above and beyond by creating a virtual mentoring program that offers online mentoring to middle-school students across the country.  A NASA employee instructs these students over Skype or Google Chat.  The NASA employees range in professions such as engineers, accountants, scientists, and astronauts. 

These 12 organizations are taking giant steps towards a more unified STEM future.  Only time will tell if their efforts will come to fruition.

There are numerous organizations besides the 12 listed above that are paving the way for women in STEM.  We highly encourage you to become involved and take some time to read about their values and goals.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Learn Why Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, is pushing for more STEM Programs

 “YOU have a chance to shape your own destiny.” -  Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor of Iowa

In the past, for many women, pursuing a job in the STEM workforce did not seem possible; lack of information, school programs and even mentorship, guidance and encouragement centered around female STEM were unavailable. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. With more opportunities than ever before, women (and their employers) should be aware of endless possibilities out there. Learn about why Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor of Iowa is pushing for more STEM programs in schools and business in the Women in STEM- My Story, My Advice project:

Kim’s Story:

Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor of Iowa

Growing up in St. Charles, Iowa, it never occurred to me to that I could become a food scientist, civil engineer, or aerospace engineer. Primarily because I didn't have the chance to learn within an innovative STEM classroom, join a robotics team or experience computer coding. Those experiences didn't exist in my school district. That's why I'm so passionate about driving STEM education. STEM truly offers unlimited opportunities to young women and students who are underrepresented or underserved. As Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, I am deeply committed to preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow.  Read the rest of Kim's story and her advice:

Meet women just like the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, share your own stories and advice and influence the next generation of STEM professionals at the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit taking place on October 21st, 2014 at Bentley University. The Women-in-STEM Idea Exchange Summits provide the opportunity to make one-to-one connections with potential employees, feed mentoring and internship program pipelines, maximize ROI of K-12 STEM investments, increase STEM retention rates, as well as promote internal initiatives in support of women in the workplace.

To download our full brochure, and find out how you can become a part of a movement to change the future of America, click here:

Register today:

We look forward to seeing you at the Summit!

The Women in STEM Exchange Summits Team