Assoc. for Women in Science

Winter 2015

AWIS Magazine covers topics important to women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine fields. Topics include career advancement, work-life balance, the state of science and technology, women’s wellness, and AWIS’ political and

Issue link: http://magazine.awis.org/i/613158

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18 association for women in science | winter 2015 "I never knew a black woman could be an engineer." These words, said to me by a young African American girl in Orlando, Florida after hearing me give a keynote on why pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is important, hit home. Hard. Her voice fuels me to continue traversing the nation to speak to girls and women about the criticality of women in STEM and why it is a matter of global importance to pursue STEM educational goals and careers, no matter what you look like. Why does it matter? Women in STEM directly impact the level of innovation, economic returns and the environment around the world on a global, national, local community and individ- ual scale. Particularly in the globally significant technology industries. AWIS and programs like TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Cultural and Educa- tional Affairs in close partnership with the Institute of Inter- national Education in San Francisco, help keep women at the forefront of STEM innovation. Women that can design better vaccines, create novel materials, invent smarter technologies and make the world we share a better place. Women all over the world. I had the pleasure of speaking to the 2015 TechWomen pro- gram participants, representing countries of Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, as they tied up their five-week U.S. visit. These TechWomen are working on specific projects with their American Mentors at scientific research, technology and innovation companies in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, an experience that was enhanced by several work- shops organized to provide networking opportunities and to increase the participants' understanding of how Americans drive development. These nearly 100 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Leb- anon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turk- menistan, are responsible for designing "Action Plans" to carry out projects that benefit young girls and to enable women to reach their full potential in the science and tech industry in their home communities. This important task is very much in-line with AWIS' dedication to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disci- plines and across all employment sectors. I spoke to the women about how, in order to create plans to successfully lead this charge for women and girls in their communities, it is important to first create a "Leadership Road- map" that maps out the goals in support of their individual career vision. I also shared the importance of understanding that it is very possible to have a successful career and a hap- py family life. This again requires the devel- opment of a plan and shared vision for your career and family goals. This can be a daunt- ing task, but it is worth the effort to effectively navigate your career path and achieve all that is very possible for women in STEM. While career options are exciting and the possibilities are great, the challenges persist in the STEM arena that is globally rife with gender, cultural and individual bias. Indeed, according to the Diversifying the Talent The Pace of Innovation Necessitates Global Participation of Women in STEM — AWIS and TechWomen By Pamela McCauley, PhD, CPE Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, University of Central Florida (AWIS Member since 2015) careerplaybook women in STEM Senator Anastasia Pittman (D), Oklahoma presenting Dr. Pam McCauley with proclamation signed by Senator and Oklahoma's Governor.

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