Girls in STEM

The Problem

Though the demand for jobs related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) has increased significantly in recent years, men still continue to dominate these fields creating a STEM Gender Gap. Across the world, women make up less than a third (29.3%) of those employed in scientific research and development related fields. In addition, women who do choose to work in STEM fields are more likely to leave or choose to not continue their education in that field compared to their male counterparts.Throughout middle school both male and female students take prestigious science and math courses and even make similar scores. However, in high school we see this gap widen as fewer young girls choose to participate in STEM related courses. Many researchers believe that this trend could be caused by gender stereotypes and society’s expectations surrounding what job roles women can fill. In addition, the few women that do decide to enter the STEM workforce face descrimination, are paid less than male co-workers, feel isolated due to the lack of female coworkers, mentors, and role models, and feel like that their contributions are ignored. 

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Our Solution

Streamworks will change this trajectory by developing the skills young girls  need to achieve success in any science or math related career. 

Through our all-girl summer camps, robotics teams, and workshops our mission is to instill confidence in young girls by showing them that they can accomplish anything the boys can do. In addition, the Streamworks staff includes female members in order to inspire and prevent the feeling of isolation. Being in an all girl environment will allow girls to excel and develop essential skills necessary while being surrounded with encouragement by other girls. Through our programs we hope to decrease the STEM gender gap by increasing the amount of females that enter the future STEM workforce. In addition, these young girls will learn how to think like an engineer, mechanics, basic electronics, coding, 3D modeling and printing, communication, leadership, and responsibility. With these skills any girl that goes through our programs will be advanced ahead of their peers and are bound for success in any career path of their choosing.

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Past Projects

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Previously, Streamworks has hosted an all-girls coding camp and even had an all-girls Robot League (RDL) Team this past season. About 50 girls attended the coding camp from all around the region including Girls Inc. The students first began with block coding on an online program called Scratch, learned the fundamentals of python using Code Combat, programed VEX robots, LEGO robots, and drones, and learned how to write programs using an Arduino processor in order to power motors and servos. The purpose of this camp was to inspire girls who are interested in the computer science field despite computer science being a male dominated field. In addition to having all girls camps, Streamworks has also sponsored an all girls robotics team known as Superwoman Smarts Flygirls. Superwoman Smarts Flygirls was made up of all girls ranging from grades 4th through 8th. The team designed their own robot with a drive train system and a linear actuator system. On top of that the team programmed their robot using Raspberry Pi. The team also included a drone pilot that learned how to proficiently fly a drone as well as coding the drone using python. On top of that the team programmed their robot using Raspberry Pi. Utilizing both the robot and the drone together the team had to strategize how to get as many points as possible in a 10 minute time frame. Overall, the all-girls team placed second in last season’s Robot Drone League Competition. Aundrea Wilcox, the creator of Superwoman Smarts Flygirls, said this about the experience,”STEM-related education and early exposure can substantially empower girls to achieve economic mobility and better life chances. It is clear to me that this program works. I watched the lightbulb go off with this group of girls. I know this experience has transformed them and they are encouraged more than ever to pursue STEM education and eventually work in technology related fields.”

Our Partners

Streamworks wanted to give a big thank you to all of our partners who have helped us make our Girls in STEM initiatives a reality. Learn more about these amazing woman below.

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Aundrea Y. Wilcox

AUNDREA Y. WILCOX, Brenau University MBA, is currently the Senior Business Counselor of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Kingsport Affiliate Office, and Executive Director of the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, Tenn. She has provided technical assistance to over 1,800 individuals or businesses during her 12+ years as a professional business consultant.

In addition to being a full-time Certified GrowthWheel Business Advisor™, Aundrea has a long tradition of community service. She currently serves on the Holston Valley Medical Center Board of Directors as Chairman; she is a Board Member of the Holston Business Development Center Small Business Incubator; and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator. She is also a Selection Committee Member for the East Tennessee State University Roan Scholars Leadership Program; and a member of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation’s Advisory Council to Minority Business Participation.

Aundrea Y. Wilcox is also the author of two books: Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival & Success–and Superwoman Smarts: Activating Leadership & Substance. She also recently collaborated with 25 consultants affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program, to help write a new book, The TriStart™ Matrix, which is designed to help entrepreneurs master three critical phases for a successful business start.

Future Projects

In order to aid more girls in reaching their full potential, Streamworks will continue many girls in STEM initiatives in the future. Be on the lookout for events coming soon! 

Sources

Berwick, C. (2019, March 12). Keeping Girls in STEM: 3 Barriers, 3 Solutions. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/keeping-girls-stem-3-barriers-3-solutions

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM): Quick Take. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem/

Women in STEM: Percentages of Women in STEM Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2019/09/women-in-stem-percentages-of-women-in-stem-statistics