Discovery World Event Encourages Girls to Explore STEM Fields

Nov 16, 2016

Enhancing instruction in STEM fields continue to draw a lot of attention in the education world, and the effort to draw more girls to science, technology, engineering and math is seen by many as especially important.

"Culturally, sometimes we turn young women off to STEM and we turn them off to these careers at a very young age."

Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin will host an event Saturday, October 19, with the aim of encouraging more girls to explore STEM fields and careers. Joel Brennan is the president and CEO of Discovery World. He says that the event was at least partly influenced by Discovery World's summer programs for kids, specifically its robotics camp. 

"Oftentimes when we let the market decide, those camps are really popular but they'll be 80-90% boys and 20% young girls," he says. "This past summer we did a week-long, all-girls robotic camp, and it filled up immediately."

"Culturally, sometimes we turn young women off to STEM and we turn them off to these careers at a very young age," says Brennan. "Instead we should be opening the doors and showing them what opportunities are out there for people of all stripes." 

"In high school trying to find courses around computer science, I really had to kind of seek them and ask around. And even in those classes a lot of times I was the only girl in the class."

Amanda Eason is a commercial engineer at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. She says that although math had always been one of her favorite subjects as a kid, she had difficulty navigating her way into a STEM career. 

"There wasn't a lot of information directed towards me about STEM fields," says Eason. "So for me, even just in high school trying to find courses around computer science, I really had to kind of seek them and ask around. And even in those classes a lot of times I was the only girl in the class." 

Jay Flores is Global STEM Ambassador for Rockwell Automation, and he says it's important to get girls and all children of color involved with STEM careers"STEM is just problem solving, and you can find the problems that you're passionate about and go solve problems in that space," says Flores. "And when you're not engaging a large part of our potential, future workforce, it's a lot of problems that they're not thinking about." 

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