November 22, 2019
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  • 11:08 am Telephone Call: formal
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  • 11:07 am President Trump holds rally in Orlando, Florida, live stream
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Welcome Webcast


 
Thank you and welcome. Welcome to OPM. My name is Liz Montoya. I am the chief of staff
here at the agency. I have been here now four years. A great agency. I absolutely love it
here and I love the experience I have had. Today, I am excited to welcome everyone to
our “Leading Through Role Modeling Training: Engaging Girls in STEM.” I want to thank the
National Science Foundation for hosting us today here at OPM. They funded this event,
and so we are thrilled that we are partners with them.
Also, I would like to thank our collaborators for helping us to develop this groundbreaking
training effort. The National Girls Collaborative Project, Techbridge, Fab Fems, and Magic.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, STEM, has been named as one of government’s
functional areas and is included in OPM’s skill gaps initiative. One of the federal
government’s cross agency priority goals identified on performance.gov. I work on the skill gaps
initiative often during the week, so to have STEM included in this initiative is very,
very important. What it says is that the General Accounting
Office thought it was important enough to include STEM, along with studying what the
skill gaps are in STEM, for not only STEM but for economics, cyber security, HR, and
acquisition. That makes it a really important initiative in the federal government right
now. But that’s not the only reason that your modeling
is important today. It is important because for many girls and young women you’ll be opening
up new horizons and new possibilities. You’ll help show where an interest in science and
math…where it can take them. You’ll provide a window that will help women
and girls envision themselves with careers in STEM. The training and resources provided
today will help you interact in impactful ways with girls considering careers in the
STEM field. At our town hall announcing this event to
the OMP staff, we played a video which some of you might have seen already. But to help
others better understand that wonderful talent waiting to be tapped, we would like for you
to see that. The belief that we belong on the cutting edge
of innovation, that’s an idea as old as America itself. We’re a nation of tinkerers and dreamers
and believers in a better tomorrow. Woman 1:  I was at the piano one night, playing
the piano, and I noticed that when I played certain chords or notes that strings on a
nearby banjo would resonate. And so, I heard that and made the connection and thought,
“Maybe I can use the same principle to detect [inaudible 04:04] lines.”
I created a sensor for youth and high school football that would be able to tell you when
you might have received a concussion. A UV light lunchbox that kills bacteria off
of fruits and food. A lunchbox that helps people. I never thought I could do that.
I created a program that I hope will get kids excited about programming by turning it into
a game. Specifically, what my nanoparticle does is
it’s an improvement on past cancer treatments. Definitely, as a kid, I asked a lot of why
questions. I found that science and math usually were the answers to all of my why questions.
Everybody can do science, and they do it every day. I think it’s just a matter of pursuing
those questions. When you see something and you ask a question, that’s science.
If you look around and find out where these kids came from, and what challenges they overcame
to be here, and what invested energy there was in their local science teachers, and the
sacrifices that the parents made. What we have here is a cross section of all of America,
recognizing that there’s innovation that could come from any demographic, any region of the
nation. In fact, the greatest innovations are coming from people who had to struggle
just to go to school. There’s a girl here whose parents were homeless, at a time she
learned that she had won her science fair. When things were rough at home, or whenever
it was, I had something to look forward to, and I always was taught to not mope around,
to do something. To make things better, I’d have to work for it, and I found that. Something
that I was passionate about, and that could get me somewhere. I used my research, my science,
as a means of doing better for myself, and focusing on something more than being homeless.
This is the kind of the stuff, what these young people are doing, that’s going to make
a bigger difference in the life of our country over the long term than just about anything.
This is what inspires me and gets me up every day. This is what we should be focusing on
in our public debates. As for all the folks who are here, don’t let your robots wander
off anywhere. [laughter]
[music] When I first saw that, I was just, “Wow, that
is so exciting, that there is a real interest in STEM.” You’re going to make it happen.
I have to tell you a little personal story. I have two grand kids. My granddaughter is
in fifth grade. In fourth grade she won first place in her science fair at school, and I
was so excited that she won. This little 12 year old girl, my granddaughter, won first
prize! It was emotional. To be speaking to you today, the people who do this, is so very
important, so thank you. [applause]
Let me finish. I hope she wins this year! [laughter]
In the federal government, the best resource for reaching our next generation is you, our
more than 200,000 federal STEM professionals. In August last year, Director Barry issued
a memo to the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, reminding all federal agencies of
the available flexibilities for employees to participate in activities to help build
a STEM talent pipeline for future recruitment in federal service. We need your help to build
that talent pipeline, and we’re very excited that so many of you are answering that call.
Our event today is a direct response to the questions we have been receiving from all
of you, including “What do I need to do?” and “Where do I do it?”
Addressing what you do, as a role model, the National Girls Collaborative Project, a National
Science Foundation grantee, will be training you to relate your educational experience
through different career pathways. Adopt practices that will make you an effective
role model. Integrate STEM careers through icebreakers, introductions, career showcases
and hands on activities. Apply effective techniques to engage girls in meaningful discussions
about STEM careers, which dispel stereotypes and ignite girls’ interest.
Abby Wilson…Where’s Abby? Is she here yet? Abby Wilson, our innovation lab manager, will
be leading sessions that explore the latest research on messaging, imagery, and best practices,
to engage a diverse population in STEM creating new and innovative ways to excite the next
generation of STEM professionals. I can’t say enough of how much you’re going
to enjoy Abby today. She is phenomenal. We hired her to run our innovation lab. She is
young, dynamic, hungry to share what she has learned and what she has been working on.
It’s going to be a great session when you have her today.
To help you with where to go to inspire women and girls, we’ve arranged a program fair featuring
both local and national youth serving organizations, to connect you with volunteer opportunities
and information. Further, we will hold two sessions today.
The second session will be at 2:10 here in the auditorium, featuring Dr. Patricia Falcone,
the Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of
Science and Technology Policy, OSTP, in the Executive Office of the President.
Our first session starts right here, right now. I have to just go…You’ll see these
empty chairs up here. There are supposed to be high school students that are coming in
from around this area, and we know they’re close by. They’re here! Maybe going in through
security now? OK. We thought we would just start the program
and they would come in, so you’ll see them walk in, in just a few. We will hold two sessions
today…I did that. I am honored to share the stage today with
several rising stars in STEM. We have with us several young women in DC area, blah blah
blah. We also have Dr. Karina Edmonds, and Dr. Rebecca Spike Kaiser. Dr. Edmonds and
Dr. Kaiser have longstanding histories as role models, not only for our young women
but also for under represented communities in STEM education and career pathways.
Our first speaker, Dr. Edmonds, is the Director of Technology Transfer Office at the Department
of Energy. Dr. Edmonds is a nationally recognized expert in the field of innovation, technology
transfer, and commercialization. She has over 15 years of experience working with the private
sector, universities and national laboratories across the country on innovation.
Dr. Edmonds is responsible for working with the Department of Energy’s national laboratories
to accelerate the process of moving discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace, turning
America’s scientific leadership into new, high paying jobs for America’s families.
She has co authored two patent applications, and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical
engineering, as well as a master’s and doctorate degrees in aeronautics, with a minor in material
science. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Edmonds. [applause]
Thank you to Liz, and OPM, and NSF for funding this great event. Thank you all for coming
and taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us this morning. Thank you for
the introduction, but what I really want to tell you is what can happen when you do serve
as a role model, because I am a product of a STEM program. Early on in the fifth grade
in Providence, Rhode Island, and the time it was called “Times Two” to increase minorities
in math, engineering and science. Through that program, I got to meet engineers and
find out what engineers did. Although I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, other than I did
not want to live paycheck to paycheck like a lot of the people I knew, I was really excited
to know that as an engineer, I could do lots of different things. I have not been disappointed.
Through that program, again, I got to meet engineers, and got excited about engineering.
As Liz mentioned, I got my undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island, mechanical
engineering, and was fortunate enough to get accepted to CalTech, where I pursued a Ph.D.
I should say though, it wasn’t all positive experiences. Through that time, one of the
reasons why it’s so important for you to serve as role model is that we all will have barriers
that get in our way. For instance, I had a high school counselor who, when I expressed
my interest in pursuing mechanical engineering, thought that I should consider a different
career path. Luckily, I did not listen to him, and knew
enough that that’s what I wanted to do and pursue that, but that’s one of the reasons
why I want to tell you why this is so important, and why I am here. Even though my day to day
job has nothing to do with STEM, it’s something that I’m very passionate about. I definitely
want to give back, because it was something that has given a lot to me, so I just wanted
to mention that that’s my personal purpose for being here today.
I’m so happy to have seen the video, I had not seen the video before, and that the President
is focused on innovation, because that’s where I stand. That’s where I continue to see a
shortage of women and under represented minorities. That pipeline is so important.
For instance, for small businesses we have…As you know, women are about 51 percent of the
population, and in STEM careers, we represent about 20 percent. That number actually drops
down to single digits when you look at the physical sciences. Seven percent of mechanical
engineers are women. Our country cannot continue at this pace.
Our innovative edge is at risk, our national security is at risk if we don’t tap into our
full intellectual potential. We can no longer overlook this amazing intellectual capital
that we have with women and under represented minorities who are growing.
Our country will no longer continue to be competitive in the innovation space, and again,
I see it in terms of businesses women own. Luckily, small businesses, we own about 50
percent of small businesses, but when you look at high tech businesses, again our numbers
drop down to single digits. I’m very personally committed, and of course,
because, again, not only is this a national goal of the President’s, it’s very important
that we increase our STEM pipeline of women and under represented minorities.
That’s why I’m here. I wanted to tell that story, and I also wanted to talk about the
wonderful things that we’re doing at the Department of Energy to answer that call. For one thing,
we started our own chapter of the White House Council of Women and Girls, so we have a number
of activities that we’ve undertaken. Just like week, or actually last month, in
honor of Black History Month, we actually had May Jameson, the first African American
astronaut to go into space, came and spoke, and then we had a Google chat after that event
to, again, serve as role models. This is another great thing that we have social
media now where we can leverage the power of one and really go out and speak to a lot
of people. Again, that’s part of the reason that I’m here. As I go around, and some of
the things that I like to share with you that May actually spoke about during her keynote
which was wonderful, and if anybody heard her speak, I hear she has a great talk that
I have not seen, but I will get there. She spoke about the three Es, which she calls
exposure, expectation, and experience, which, again, I could relate. But, again, exposing
girls to STEM careers to show all the possibilities. For me, it’s about options, and that’s one
thing that I would recommend you talk about, because they think, you have a PhD so you
walk around with a lab coat. I haven’t worn a lab coat since grad school, and even then
it was on rare occasions when I was doing an experiment.
It’s just about opportunities and the opportunities that a STEM degree will offer you, so exposing
them to different career paths. Again, an engineering degree doesn’t necessarily going
to be…Or a misconception that you’re actually an engineer, say, on a train, or a conductor.
Which, I know you laugh, but you’d be surprised. As a result, we try to go around and speak.
I know every time I go out, that’s part of my day job, and speak at one of our national
labs. I was in New Mexico, where we have a couple of labs, Los Alamos and in Sandia.
When I go to Austin, Texas I spoke at a grade school, a girl’s school, Ann Richards School
for girls, which again focuses on STEM careers for girls. I had a great time there speaking
to the girls, and I know, like I said for me, what a difference it made when I could
see someone that looked like me and was doing something that I’d never seen anyone do before
because of the people that I would be exposed to during a day to day. Again, that exposure
is really fundamental. Expectations. Setting high expectations. People
will rise to the occasion. They will deliver what you will expect from them. We want to
set high expectations for these that we believe that they can achieve these goals and they
can do this, especially math. I think there’s this misconception that you’re either good
or bad at math. I go around and people say, “You must be brilliant, you’re an engineer.”
I go, “No, I’m determined,” and that’s another big key, that it’s about hard work.
It’s not easy. I’m not going to lie to anybody. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth
it, and that’s what we have to let them know, that they can work at it and get better, and
it’s not this inherent “you’re good or you’re bad at math.” Of course, people have different
interests and I understand that, but for the most part I think it’s obviously something
they can get good at and continue to learn, so that’s one thing. Their expectations, setting
expectation. Then experience. There’s a lot of studies
that show that it’s about working, actually being exposed and getting your hands dirty
and working on these experiments that really excite young people. So, we want to continue
to do that. I know at the university level, they’re doing
a lot to restructure their curriculum because there’s a really sad statistic that shows
that underrepresented minorities that go into STEM fields drop out 79 percent their first
year, which is crazy. A lot of universities are restructuring the way that they’re teaching
their courses where they’re having a lot more labs and hands on coursework at the beginning
of your academic career versus the end, and then throwing in the hard stuff later, when
you’re fully committed. They’re finding that that’s working, and also
the fact that just knowing that statistic makes you think…I spoke to a group of young
students last week. I was at North Carolina A&T where they were having an Urban Stem Institute.
I asked the 100 students that were there to promise me they wouldn’t drop out that first
year, because just knowing that this statistic, and that it does get better. That if they
work hard at it, they will exceed. Again, expectations or experience, so exposure,
expectation, and experience, having that hands on experience. Again, we have well documented
biases against women, and the sad thing that it’s not just men, it’s women. We do it to
ourselves as well. A famous study where you had faculty members, I believe it was at Yale,
that were given two résumés, same résumé. One was John and one was Jane, Consistently,
the guy got rated higher even though it was all the same credential.
The sadder thing, it wasn’t just the males that rate the males higher, it was also the
women. That we have these inherent biases and just thinking about the way we talk to
girls. Again, as a form of disclosure, I’m personally committed because I have three
young daughters that I want to make sure that they have every opportunity. They’re interested
in making sure that these biases go away, but the way that we talk to girls is very
different. I have to throw one personal story, and hopefully
I won’t get into tears. My five year old was three, she had a cup with a solar system and
loved it all summer. The first day of school, she comes home with a really sad face. “Mommy,
they said this is a boy cup.” I said, “You go back there and you tell them, what is so
boyish about the solar system?” I went on also to tell her that that’s a tall tale boy’s
tale to keep all the fun to themselves. Ever since then, she’s had no problems asserting
herself in the scientific world. If you look at then, actually when I shared
that story with May she said, “It’s not the kids, it’s the parents.” We have to be careful
about the messages that we’re giving our boys and girls that this is boy stuff and this
is girl stuff. I can talk forever and also get into tears, but I’ll try to not do that.
Again, just leave you with those three Es. I hope May forgives me for stealing her thunder
there, but the exposure, expectation, and the experience. With that, I leave you. Again,
thank you for coming. It sounds like you have a great lineup today, and I hope to participate
as much as I can and hope to meet as many of you as I can. With that, good morning,
and thank you. [applause]
Thank you, Dr. Edmonds. Just one other little tidbit here. My granddaughter again was not
doing so good in math. Not doing well at all. My son and daughter in law Monica, they were
beside themselves. I said, “You all have to sit down with her at the kitchen table and
help her get through those math problems, math questions, and she will be fine. But
you have to spend some time.” What I guess I say is, just as important in STEM to get
those parents getting their kids interested in passing science and math and everything
else they teach in school these days. Little side story there.
Our second speaker today is Dr. Rebecca Spike Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is Associate Deputy Administrator
for Strategy and Policy at NASA. In this position, Dr. Kaiser reports directly to the Deputy
Administrator, Lori Garver, as the primary coordinator for agency level policy and strategy
efforts. She helps implement a wide range of initiatives in support of NASA’s goals
and integrates the efforts of the agency’s strategic planning offices.
She holds a Bachelor degree in Japanese Studies from Wellesley College, a Master’s of Science
degree in Politics of the World Economy, and a Doctorate in International Studies. Welcome,
Dr. Kaiser. [applause]
And our girls are coming in now, so welcome. [applause]
Thank you Liz and welcome, girls. I get to share a panel with you all next. I’m very
excited about it. I’m so excited to be here this morning. As a manager and a colleague
and a friend and a mom, I have a six year old girl and a five year old boy, I see…
I’m really old. No, I started late. [laughs] I see the effects
of role modeling every day. Role modeling is about leading by example. It’s encouraging
others to be innovative and creative in their solutions. We all could be role models. I
am proud to be a role model. I’m proud to have role models. You all can be role models.
Our girls can be role models. I want you all to think about that throughout the day today,
about how you can role model throughout everything that you do, whether it’s work or personal
or anything. It’s part of what I believe we are obligated to do, just as a fact of being
a citizen in our society. I want to talk about one of my role models.
One of my role models was a human computer. Do you know that NASA used to have an actual
job title called Computer, a human who was a computer. It is, it’s true.
In the 1930s, when NASA was called the National Advisory Council on Aeronautics, or NACA,
they hired hundreds of young, female mathematicians in part to free up the male engineers from
time consuming math work so that they could concentrate on research and have the women
concentrate on very complex and detailed computation that took a lot of time.
These female mathematicians were called Computers. One of these Computers was Katherine Johnson.
Ms. Johnson is now 94 years old, still living in Virginia. She was born in 1918 in West
Virginia. The school for black children in her home town only went to the 8th grade,
but Ms. Johnson’s parents were determined that she and her siblings get a proper education.
Her dad was a farmer and only went to school through 6th grade. Her mom took Ms. Johnson
and her siblings to a nearby town during the school year and lived in that nearby town
during the school year so that Katherine and her siblings could get an education past the
8th grade. Ms. Johnson excelled and graduated from West
Virginia University in Math, and in 1952 after a career in teaching, she went to work for
NACA, the former NASA. Although females had the same education and qualifications as most
of the males, the Computers earned $1,400 a year, and the male engineers earned $2,600
a year, 1952. But that didn’t stop Ms. Johnson. She worked there for 33 years.
At first, females weren’t allowed to go even to the staff meetings. They were for men only.
Ms. Johnson asked her boss, “Is there a law against women going to a staff meeting?” Of
course, there wasn’t. Her boss had to concede, and women were allowed to go to the staff
meetings. Ms. Johnson and women like her are incredible role models for me.
In some ways, it must have been really aggravating doing the work that men did not want to do
and getting paid almost half as much as the men. But Miss Johnson said she loved every
minute of it. Maybe she didn’t even realize that she was paving the way for women like
me who came after, but she was. I think about her all the time.
Then there’s mentoring, which allows us to build relationships and help guide mentees
as they progress through school and their careers. In these ways, we can give our students
the tools they need to be successful. But instead of mentors, I like to think about
champions. I like to use that word, because I think that we all need champions. Those
women and others who are willing to spend their time helping us out. Who are willing
to put themselves on the line to say, “Give this person a chance.”
One of my champions is the NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver. She’s number two at NASA. The
second female to be deputy administrator in NASA’s history. She’s always willing to stick
up for me. I was Lori’s executive officer, and I came to her one day and said, “I have
an idea to develop an office to do the long term strategy for NASA.” We didn’t have that.
She said, “Sounds good. Go for it.” She was willing to stick up for me. And really, as
others at NASA said, “I don’t know. Do we really need that? What’s the purpose? Why
do long term strategy?” She was there to say, “Give it a chance.” Here I am, associate deputy
administrator for strategy and policy at NASA, and we’re doing it and we’re planning 20 years
down the line. It’s really working. I’ll tell you also about we talked about barriers.
There have been barriers. There have been moments when I’ve cried, and that’s OK.
Right after I got this strategy and policy job, I had to give my first big presentation
to the big NASA leadership council. It had all the top NASA leadership. It was my moment.
I was going to present on how the NASA Authorization Act, which governs what NASA needs to do over
the next three years would translate into policy and strategy.
I asked one of my staff members to develop charts for me with the main points of this
act, this law. I had my charts and I got up there. I put them up on the screen and starting
talking in my new authoritative voice. Somebody, one of the leaders, said, “That’s not the
right act.” It wasn’t. It was an old version of the law that hadn’t passed. It wasn’t actually
the law that had passed, and that’s what I had up on the screen.
I said that I needed to revise the presentation. I took it down. And said, “I’ll come back
to the council next time.” I went back and I went into my office and I cried. I was so
embarrassed. I thought that everybody in the room would now know that I was not qualified
for this job. I guess I could have given up, but it did
drive me to perform even better in my position. What helped me was my champion, Lori Garver,
who came in and said, “That really wasn’t great. You probably should have double checked
that. But you know what? Life goes on, and you’ve got to pick yourself up and you got
to keep going.” And I did. That’s another part of, again, role modeling
for others and my having my own champion. I’m really proud to do that.
I’m happy today that things are different from Miss Johnson’s time. We still have a
lot of work to do for women in STEM. I’m very committed to do that through the White House
Council on Women and Girls and through NASA. It’s wonderful to see you all here today.
I thank you very much. I won’t take up any more time, so I can turn to this fabulous
panel of girls. Thank you. [applause] Thank you, Dr. Keiser. At this time I would
like to welcome our girls and transition to the panel. Dr. Keiser has graciously offered
to moderate this exciting session. As I mentioned, our girls are from high schools
in DC area, and are here to share with us some of their experiences, challenges and
accomplishments on their pathways in STEM education. These young women will help us
remind us why we are here today. Dr. Keiser, I will turn this over to you.
Thank you. Thank you for being here. We welcome you here
to OPM. If there’s at any time you need anything with the work that you do, we are here to
help. We do a lot of guidance here and make a lot of recommendations, so we are happy
to help. STEM is important to the staff here at OPM, and we’re here to help you. Thank
you for all the work you do. [applause] Thank you all for being with us for our first
panel here. We also have Hope, who’s on Skype who you can see on the screen. I just love
technology. It’s fabulous. We’ll make sure to include Hope in our discussions as well.
This is a panel of girls from the greater Capitol area who will speak about their individual
and unique experiences in science, technology, engineering and math. We’ll talk about why
role models are important, and those who we’re directly impacting.
I’m going to turn to the girls. Could you each tell a bit about you, your school, and
a little about the STEM activities that you’re involved in. Let’s start here.
My name is Angelica Hutchins, and I go to Phelps Architecture Construction and Engineering
High School here in DC. Some of the STEM activities that I’m involved in I take architecture at
my high school, and we use AutoCAD Revit. We just started Photoshop, and we use a little
bit of Google SketchUp. Last year, we participated in a design competition for our junior year,
and for my project I used Google SketchUp for my pavilion design. I used AutoCAD, too,
for my pavilion design also, but just in different perspectives and elevations.
Thank you. Hi. My name is Tisha Bradley. I also go to
Phelps Architecture Construction and Engineering High School. I’m also an architecture student.
I also participate in robotics, FIRST Robotics. I am the business manager, but I also help
building with the robot. Fabulous. Thank you.
Hi. My name is Dominique King. I go to Phelps Architecture Construction and Engineering
High School. I am part of the Cisco Information Technology Program at my school. I’m also
part of the robotics team. I’m one of the safety captains. I’m also part of the building
team. Rebecca. And Hope? Hi. I’m Hope [inaudible 38:29] school [inaudible
38:30] . We’ll get it all set up. It’s all good. While
we’re adjusting, Hope, thank you very much. Great to have you with us. I’d like for you
all let’s start with Angelica. Can you sum up in one sentence it can be more than one
sentence. It can be two, OK? I’m not going to count, but what you like about your science
program? I like the complexity of it. [laughter]
Tisha, what do you like? I like the creativity aspect of it.
Fabulous. I love it. Dominique? What I love about the science program is that
it opens my eyes to many different careers that I could possibly get into. It just dissects
each aspect of science, which is really eye opening to me.
Wonderful. Hope, what do you like about your science program?
[inaudible 40:00] . The challenge. Thank you. The challenge and
the practical applications. Fabulous. We’ll hear more about all of those.
Angela and Tisha, did your view of STEM change from elementary school to middle school or
middle school to high school? Did you change the way you thought about STEM and science
technology engineering and math? Angelica. My view changed because in elementary school,
it was just mathematics. That’s all. Everything was all in mathematics, and for science, everything
was all in science, but as I got to high school, it will go to physics and chemistry and environmental
science and biology. For math, it’s algebra, algebra II, and geometry, and probability
and statistics, and pre calculus and calculus, so it just… They went through all the details.
I just summed up everything, so I will look at every aspect on that, for every aspect
of science. Not just all of it in one category. You saw all the different possibilities and
that there was a lot more than that mathematics that one sheet of problems on a page.
Yes. Tisha, how about you?
I stay at school around the neighborhood, around Phelps, and before Phelps was opened
I never knew what a trade school was, what engineering was, architecture. The main stuff
we talked about was being a lawyer, a doctor, stuff like that. When I actually applied for
Phelps and learning that there were an architecture school, construction and engineering, I was
thinking that it wasn’t for girls. I participated in the summer program, a design program, and
actually learned that it’s a lot of females that are in these trades and stuff, and learning
that you don’t really have to go off to college necessarily. You can be in a trade field and
go off to an internship, paid internship. It really expanded my mind on careers.
Thank you. Dominique and Hope. Can you describe a time when you felt frustrated in a STEM
activity? What did you do when you were frustrated? How did you move on?
I don’t really get upset when I’m with my STEM programs. If I do, I just work through
it. Really?
I don’t really get upset like that. That’s awesome, that’s awesome. So if something
doesn’t really work right, and the experiment doesn’t go the way you thought you don’t get
frustrated? I don’t get frustrated. I just learn how to
work through it and try to start it all over again.
Fabulous. Awesome. Welcome. Come on in. Good morning.
Good morning. We’ll introduce you in just a second. Hope, can you talk about a time
when you were frustrated by a STEM activity? [inaudible 43:13] I felt pretty frustrated
and spent many, many hours working through them trying to eliminate all the syntax errors.
Eventually, it worked, so dedication is the way to go.
Awesome. Hope, we can hear you much better. [applause]
Thank you. We have two more girls. Can you introduce yourself? Tell your name, your school
and your interest in STEM. Hi. My name is Shakia Scott. I go to Phelps
High School [inaudible 44:04] . I’m an engineering major.
Thank you. Good morning. My name is Francesca Rodriguez.
I go to Phelps Senior High School, and I’m a junior. I major in welding.
Fabulous. Wow! That’s awesome. Welding. I wish I knew how to do that. [laughter]
We’re going through and let’s turn to Francesca. Francesca?
Francesca. Francesca. Can you talk about an adult who
has influenced you in STEM, and how? There’s this lady. She’s my mentor. Her name
is Ms. Rhode. This is this program I’m in called Inroads. She used to be a welder as
well. Like the project that was due a couple weeks ago was a STEM fair project, and my
project was about how the respiratory system can affect the way you…How can eating healthy
affect your respiratory system. She helped me and we used to go meet up. She would talk
to me. She’ll either take me to a pediatrician or a nutritionist, and she’ll talk to me.
They gave me more information to put on my board and to talk to others. She influenced
me. What did you find out? Does the way you eat,
does it influence your respiratory system? It depends, because I interviewed three people.
One who was an asthmatic, one with allergies, and another one that didn’t have anything.
The one with allergies had to watch what they ate. The one that had asthma couldn’t eat
a lot of salt or anything that had too many calories, because that could give them high
blood pressure and they could bother their respiratory system.
Very interesting. Thank you. Shakia, can you talk about an adult who helped you or influenced
you? My grandfather was an engineer, electrician
and a plumber, so when I started going to Phelps and got into my engineering classes,
they were very difficult. He always helped me with my projects. One of my projects was
working with simple machines. We had to build them and calculate different forces and torques
of the simple machines. It was very difficult. He helped me get through it and I just liked
it from him helping me a lot with it. Hope, what advice would you give to adults
about working with girls in STEM? What’s the best way? What kinds of things should they
think about doing? I would say to definitely engage them and
practice non sexist teaching. Don’t say this is an activity for boys and this is what girls
are supposed to do. Say boys and girls can do it. Teach girls not to be intimidated by
the fact that there’s a lack of women in this field. And that if you enter a comp sci class,
you’ll probably be the only girl in there or maybe one of a few girls.
That’s great. Yes, and it’s OK if you’re the only girl.
Yes. Yes, fabulous. I’d like you all to answer
this question. What advice would you give to younger girls about STEM? Let’s start with
Dominique. The advice I would give to any young girl
is don’t ever sell yourself short. Always try to strive as high as you can. The sky
is the limit. Don’t ever let anybody try and bog you down or anything like that. You are
who you are, so never let anybody try to sell you short or hold you back or anything like
that. Love it. Thank you. That’s great advice. [applause]
Tisha? My advice would be to basically do what you
like in the field that you want to be in. Don’t let your parents tell you, “You should
be an architect. It’s really girly, this and that. If you want to be a welder, go ahead
and be a welder. Just make sure you’re good at what you do.
Love it. [applause] Angelica?
I agree with Tisha, because I’m a person that’s really big on doing what you like to do, because
a lot of people want me to do certain things. Say that I have a lot of potential to do this
and I have a lot of potential to do that, but I want to do what I want to do. I want
to do what I like to do. I think that’s what a lot of girls should do. Just do what they
like to do and don’t worry about if other people are doing it, if other people want
you to do it or not. Just if you like to do it, then go ahead and do it.
Love it. Thank you. [applause] Francesca, what advice would you give?
The advice that I would give young girls is to never give up, because even though it can
be hard at times, it’s always good to do good, better, because when you do better and you
think positive, it gives you confidence and you could be a role model to other girls when
they look at you. That could give them an idea of not to give up.
Love it. Thank you. [applause] Shakia?
I would say to be confident in anything that you do and anything that you want to do. Also,
be confident in your ideas and any adventures that you may create, because it could eventually
change the world. You can make someone else’s life better with anything that you have that
you want to do. Thank you. [applause]
Hope, what advice would you give? I would say not to be intimidated and if your
school offers a computer science class, take it.
[laughs] Let’s finish by everyone… [applause] Can you just say what kind of career you’re
thinking about going into and then we’ll wrap up. Hope, what are you thinking about doing?
I want to go into information technology at Stanford. I’m looking for a career with networking
and system operations. Fabulous. Shakia, what are you thinking about
doing? I’m thinking about becoming an aerospace engineer
in the United States Air Force and maybe go to Syracuse to study.
Love it. Francisca? I’m unsure because I like helping kids and
I wanted to become a pediatrician but I also enjoy being a welder and I wanted to become
a welder. When I was talking to my mentor, she said to find something that relates to
working with people but is hands on. She says somewhere in the engineering field. I think
she said mechanical engineering. I’m not too sure.
It sounds great. [laughs] Angelica. I like graphic design because I really like
working with computers. I’m thinking about that field.
Tisha, what are you thinking? I want to own my own green architecture, sustainable
energy company. I basically… [applause] My focus would be mainly DC to give back to
my community. Dominique, what are you thinking?
I would love to go on to performing arts and into marketing and publicity. I would also
love to go to any college and get my master’s in psychology.
That sounds fabulous. You all have such a wonderful future. I wish that I could follow
you through the years and come back and visit you in 10 years and see how successful that
you are. Thank you all for being part of this today. [applause]
Thank you very much. I’ll turn…What do we have next here? Some questions from the audience?
Should they just raise their hands with questions? Actually, what we’re going to do is get ready
to close out and send them to the rest of the workshop.
Sure. Thank you all very much. Thank you. [applause]
Good morning. My name is Kim Holden. I’m the deputy associate director for recruitment
and hiring here at OPM. I want to thank Rebecca and our other panelists and I’d also like
to thank Dr. Edmonds for all of their inspirational words and help. Another hand for our girl
panel. [applause] I’m truly inspired. I attended McKinley Tech
High School. Whoo!
Whoo hoo. Way back when, but I can truly relate. When I came out of junior high school into
high school, I was really inspired by science and wanted to be a biologist. I really got
excited by dissecting the rabbits and the shark and the frogs that they gave us. But
then, I decided to go off into human resources where I can help people who want to go into
those fields. Either way, I’m still helping the STEM community.
I want to thank the young ladies for your very inspiring, just knowing what you want
to do with your careers is very inspirational. I wish each of you the best of luck. I think
we will find a way to track you over the next 10 years and maybe you can come back and be
guests on our panel again so we can see just how successful you are.
Thank you again. My purpose is to do some housekeeping and
just to let people know where they need to be. For those who want to follow us on Twitter,
I don’t tweet so I hope I say this the right way. It’s #stemmentoring is how you can follow
us on Twitter. Again, I’d like to thank our other panelists.
I’d like to thank Liz Montoya for her opening. We have others that we need to thank. Karen
Peterson, who’s the chief executive officer for Ed Lab Group, the principal investigator
for National Girls Collaborative Project. She along, with Techbridge, Fab Fems, the
National Science Foundation, and the Office of Science, Technology, and Policy has helped
bring this event together today. Before we send you off, we also have thousands
of folks from, what I understand, who have joined us by webcast along with Hope, who
is Skyped in for this event, for this panel. The next session will be webcast from 12:00
to 2:00. There’s also a session from 2:10 until 2:30. For those of you that are webcasting,
you will need to log off for each webcast session and then log back in for the next
session. The instructions should have been sent to you via your email.
At this time, you are free to disconnect and then we will see you again at noon. For those
persons who are attending here, you’re divided into four groups. Groups of 45 each. The schedules
are running concurrently and everything is on this ground level or in the subbasement.
On the ground level we have the auditorium here, the elevators in the middle, and then
the cafeteria. And then we have vendors in the hallway here on the ground level, as well.
The innovation lab is on the subbasement level. If you take the elevators down to the subbasement,
SB, you will be able to go to the innovation lab. During the transition times, you will
have about 10 minutes to move from session to session. The stairwells are also on each
end of the building. The four groups are A, B, C, and D. They’re
also color coded for your convenience. There will be posters throughout the building to
direct you where you need to go. We just encourage you to please stick to your schedule because
we are at full capacity today. I actually think we may have run over a little bit.
Just please stick to your schedule. I want to, again, thank you for joining us. I will
see you back here in the auditorium at 2:10. We will have remarks from Dr. Falcone.
Enjoy your day.

Robin Kshlerin

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