In the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — better known as STEM — the ratio of professionals traditionally has drifted toward the male side. Those trends, fortunately, are taking a tremendous shift as more and more females enter the STEM fields. A large part of the movement comes from the groundwork; getting women exposed to STEM careers early, during the middle school and high school years, to create and ease the career path into STEM-related fields. Events like Rowan College at Gloucester County's (RCGC) upcoming Women in STEM Fair have been working for years to broaden awareness.
Now in its 14th year, the annual Women in STEM Fair will take place at RCGC on Wednesday, March 11. In an effort to further introduce and encourage young high school female students into STEM careers, the event is geared for freshman and sophomores. The STEM Fair is by invitation only and students are selected by their school district. Students are expected to participate in a gamut of workshops, from chemical experiments to artificial testing. Last year, students took part in in a myriad of fun, educational workshops, like examining disease antibodies and making their own non-toxic green slime.
"With ever expanding technological opportunities available to the young women of the upcoming generation, introducing them to careers in STEM early is a vital step in advancing society," said Dr. Brenden Rickards, RCGC's Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. "The Women in STEM Fair has been very successful in exposing young women to potential careers early in their academic studies. Students not only experience hands-on STEM workshops, they also meet many highly successful women in the STEM fields who run the workshops. The event is an amazing opportunity for young women in Gloucester County."
The ongoing effort to attract young women to the field can be observed nationwide. Last May, the White House began an initiative of hosting "Role Model Roundtables" featuring illustrious female STEM leaders across the country who discuss their roles and the future with young women. This move was in corroboration with the administration's Equal Futures Partnership – "an international collaboration to promote women's economic and political participation, citing opening doors to women and girls in STEM fields as a major priority area for the U.S. domestic commitments," according to White House officials.
The Women in STEM Fair opens at 8:30 a.m. in the College Center Mezzanine and runs to 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit RCGC.edu/STEM or contact Dr. Brenden Rickards, dean of STEM, at (856) 415-2279.