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Women in STEM at BTC: Working to Close the Gap

April 30, 2018

Women in STEMMiddle-school and high-school students in the Janesville School District take part in Career Cruising, an electronic platform that gages their interests in future careers. Nearly all of the top ten careers girls listed were in health sciences and education. What didn’t show up? Careers in engineering, math and science. And it’s not because girls don’t have an aptitude for these areas of study – nothing could be further from the truth. The reason they aren’t considering careers in these fields is because they are not aware of the opportunities.

To turn the tide and expose students to career options they may not have otherwise considered, BTC partnered with Janesville School District to hold its first annual Women in Stem event on Monday, April 23. More than 150 middle-school and high-school aged girls from Marshall, Franklin and Edison Middle Schools, Parker and Craig High Schools, and Rock River, Rock University, TAGOS Leadership Academy and Arise Virtual magnet schools had the opportunity to learn about careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It was an eye-opening experience for these girls,” said Patty Hernandez, Janesville School District. “One attendee told me the experience taught her that ‘it’s cool to go into an area like science.’”

The goal of the Women in STEM event was to tear down the stereotypes that ‘girls can’t do math’ and get them excited about the possibilities of a career in fields that are traditionally male-dominated., “It’s about encouraging girls to study and work in these fields and raise awareness about the growing job opportunities for people with a strong background in STEM,” said Hernandez.

Increasing the interest in these fields is critical to our local economy as well as occupations that require a STEM background are growing at a faster rate than there are qualified people to fill them. “There are 688 manufacturing job openings in Rock County right now,” Hernandez said. “Getting girls excited and interested in these fields will close that employment gap and open up more opportunities for all of our students.”

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