How to Spark and Maintain Girls’ Interest in STEM
What did you want to be when you grew up?
At the end of the last century, you wouldn’t have been able to even name some of the top jobs of today: user experience developer, driverless car engineer, mobile app designer. Maybe that isn’t even the right question anymore. Instead, we should be asking kids: What kinds of problems do you want to solve?
In the words of Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Two educators are leading the charge in the United States to help girls envision the wide-open future that STEM careers can provide. They are both innovators who find themselves, literally, at the table with students, mentors, and educators.
DR. TINA PLUMMER
Start young and give them opportunity.
Assistant Superintendent Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Development, Mehlville School District, MO
Dr. Tina Plummer was not surprised when fewer girls than boys signed up for STEM courses during the 2014–2015 school year. It was the school district’s first year offering the engineering program. She knew that girls have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields, sometimes due to self-selection based on a complex matrix of factors.
But Mehlville School District made it a priority to make sure girls in the district know about STEM classes and opportunities. And in just three years, Plummer has doubled the number of girls enrolling by using two tools: information and food.
DR. CANDACE SINGH
STEM is not an add-on; it’s not just a robotics class.
Superintendent, Fallbrook Union Elementary School, CA
Dr. Candace Singh recognizes that personal and cultural biases may influence people to inadvertently steer girls away from the STEM fields. To change the trend at a foundational level, she has lead her district in ensuring that every classroom, every teacher, and every student has equal access to great STEM opportunities.
Interested in more? Learn how a powerful STEM education can broaden students perspectives and change their lives. Download the full article, or learn more about STEM Connect and take a free, 60-day trial.