STEM Role Models 101

By: Roshni Kasad, Program Manager at Techbridge

Did you know that less than 60% of girls have even met someone in a STEM career? What a missed opportunity. It turns out that when given the chance to meet a woman in STEM, ninety-three percent of girls are more interested in working in science, technology, or engineering. Do you want to be that woman who makes an impact on a girl’s career choice and be one of the Million Women Mentors who helps close the gender gap in STEM? If so, congratulations! We welcome your commitment and
enthusiasm.

Once you’ve made the decision to become a role model, the next step is to think through what you need to do to make the biggest impact. At Techbridge, our mission is to inspire more girls in STEM fields, and we know how important you are to the equation. To support you in being an effective role model, we’ve developed a number of resources including our online Role Models Matter Toolkit and accompanying guides. Here are our top three STEM role model tips to keep in mind:

1. Dispel stereotypes – When we ask girls to draw images of what a scientist looks like, they often come up with images like the “Before” one found here. Just by showing up, you’re breaking the stereotype, but make sure to go even further. Talk with girls about the real-world impact you make on a daily basis as a STEM professional. Share how what you do directly affects the lives of the girls you’re talking to. And don’t forget to mention all the fun things you do outside of work so that girls realize you can be a well-rounded person and be a scientist or engineer. For more tips on this, check out Sharing About You in our Toolkit.

2. Make it hands-on – Girls don’t want to just hear you talk about STEM – they want to dive deep into it. So make sure you’re prepared to help them experience STEM projects firsthand. For some activity ideas, go here, and for some tips on how to make the most out of it, check out the Engineering Design Process, the Art of Questioning, and Giving Girls Feedback in our Toolkit.

3. Share your passion – Research shows that it’s not about the grades you get in your science and math classes that predicts whether you’ll go into a STEM career. It’s about whether you’re interested in and exposed to the topic at a young age. What better way to get girls interested and engaged in STEM than by showing them how much you love it! File away your stiff boardroom demeanor and get ready to relax and let your enthusiasm about STEM ring loud and clear for girls. For more tips, check out STEM Messaging in our Toolkit.

At the end of the day, we want every girl to have met a women in STEM like yourself and to take away messages like this one from a 5th grade girl, “The way engineers help people is just amazing, and to learn about someone in that job is more amazing.”

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