Planting Roots in STEM: Rocketship Girls Explore Science at eBay
by Monique Arnal-Castro, Teacher, Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep
The lack of female visibility in STEM is damaging to the aspirations of our nation’s young women and girls. That’s why we’re working with community partners like Techbridge to inspire a greater understanding of STEM in the workplace and help girls envision their future in these increasingly important fields. Our goal is to develop their confidence and skills in a way that makes them keen competitors in the STEM job market.
Earlier this month, the global tech company eBay was overtaken by its potential future leaders: a group of 21 fifth grade girls from the Rocketship Si Se Puede and Rocketship Fuerza Techbridge program. Feeling right at home upon arrival, Rocketeers received individualized guest passes and were escorted through the building to a meeting room where they gathered, eager to participate in a discussion with a handful of the company’s leading women.
The room was abuzz with excitement as Rocketeers sat down at round tables with female mentors and role models from the company. It was exciting to see our Rocketeers’ eyes lighting up as they listened intently to statisticians, engineers, and product developers answer questions like, “Where did you go to college?” “Why are you working atEbay?” and “How did you decide what you wanted your career to be?”
“In fun filled events like this, elementary school girls not only get to meet women role models but also to get inspired and excited by learning what they do, and why they chose to pursue a career in STEM themselves,” said Ishita Majumdar in an article by eBay’s newsroom.
With women representing only 13% of the workforce in engineering, and 25% in computer and math, opportunities to have conversations like this are crucial for our girls to feel empowered and passionate about pursuing careers in these fields. With the recent passage of ACR 133, we are thrilled to see the California Legislature is behind us. The need for equal representation of women in STEM fields reaches beyond gender stereotypes. We need women in STEM to help close the gender pay gap, and to create products and technologies that consider the needs of girls and women across the globe (after all, we are half of the general population).
Creating opportunities for girls to foster their interest in STEM while they are young builds confidence in their skills, but the key is helping them realize the connection between their interest in STEM and its application in the real world job market. Despite living in Silicon Valley, the socioeconomic divide keeps our students from being exposed to women working in these fields. It is up to us to show them what is possible so they can dream it for themselves. The Techbridge program has been an amazing way to do this for our girls at Rocketship.
Published on April 18, 2016