Women in STEM

Women in STEM

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the remarkable women who are making strides in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We sat down with some of our own talented tutors who are actively engaged in these fields to hear their perspectives, challenges, and triumphs. 

About Some of Our STEM Tutors

  • Abby is a math tutor. She attended U.C. Santa Barbara where she received her B.S. in Statistics and Data Science and a B.A. in Feminist Studies. Her goal is to become a high school math teacher.
  • Amber is a math, biology, and chemistry tutor. During the day, she is a high school STEM teacher. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from USC.

When do you remember first being interested in your subject area?

As long as I can remember! In third grade, I vividly remember being extremely competitive in a multiplication game we would play in class. By the time I was in middle school, I knew I would be majoring in math in college and doing something with it with my career. – Abby S.

I was always very curious about science as a child, but the first time I considered studying engineering in college was during my high school physics class. I fell in love with the subject matter. – Amber H.

What has been your experience as a woman in a STEM field?

Growing up my parents and teachers were extremely supportive and encouraged me to pursue STEM. They had me taking accelerated courses and knew it was something that I excelled at.

It wasn’t until college when I saw a disproportionate number of women in STEM. While majoring in math at UCSB, I did not have a single female professor or TA for the first two years. A few times I felt that I wasn’t taken as seriously by some of the guys in my math courses.

When I switched to data science, to my surprise, I actually found some more women, both students and professors. There was a “Women in STEM” club at UCSB and some scholarships available. – Abby S.

I have been very lucky to have such a positive experience as a woman in STEM. My teachers in middle and high school actively encouraged my interests, which made me feel comfortable in STEM classes. In college, the women in my engineering program definitely looked out for each other. – Amber H.

Do you feel like your experience has changed over time?

I think that over time, the idea of “women in STEM” has been more promoted, but the actual practice still isn’t there – we still see major gender gaps in these careers and fields and gender bias in education and workplaces. I like to believe that the next generation will lessen those.

My personal experience with it has kind of come full circle as I felt encouraged during K-12, felt a bit to the side during college, but am now pursuing my math teaching credential where I hope to encourage all students to move forward with STEM and follow their passions. – Abby S.

In general, I think the tide is changing in the STEM field. For example, USC Viterbi School of Engineering (my alma mater) had an incoming class that was 49% women in 2023!

More women and girls are choosing to go into STEM fields, which means this generation of girls will have more support systems in their education and careers. – Amber H.

Why do you think it’s important for women to continue to pursue careers in STEM?

It is so important! For starters, you can only become what you see is possible so we need women in these positions now to inspire the next generation of girls and so on. Additionally, STEM fields are extremely important in how our world runs so we need diverse people in all of the spaces.

The people making big decisions in workplaces are the people who are then going to be properly represented in society. We need more women, especially more women of color, to be welcomed into these fields so all voices are heard and all people are being taken into consideration. – Abby S.

Women need to be in places where decisions are being made. When women are involved in medicine, chemistry, engineering, etc. our experiences can be reflected in the world around us.

When women are involved in the design process, we can ensure that the medicine we use is tested on bodies similar to ours, or that car crash tests account for differences between male and female bodies. – Amber H.

If there’s one piece of advice you could give to a young girl or woman interested in STEM, what would it be?

Find a female role model to follow and be the next role model for a girl looking up to you. – Abby S.

I would tell any girls or women in STEM fields to reach out to other women in their fields. Having other women around who can support you can make STEM fields less daunting. I relied a lot on the other women in my program for advice or guidance. – Amber H.


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