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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ladies of Lab encourages girls to stick with math, science

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Patti Zarling, Press-Gazette Media writes, "Callie Jacques was excited to hear from women who have made a career out of science, math and engineering."

"I am in Advanced Placement chemistry," the Green Bay Preble High School senior said. "I like science. It's so decisive. It's either right or wrong, there's no interpretation or vagueness about it"


She was one of about 100 to attend "Ladies of the Lab," a mentoring event this week sponsored by the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. The event brought four successful Green Bay area women together to talk to girls 11 and older about their education and careers.

Jacques said she hopes to pursue chemistry in college and work in a related field.

Organizers aim for others to follow suit.
"A lot of research shows that as girls get older, it's not cool to like math and science anymore," said Gail McNutt, CEO of the regional Girl Scouts chapter. "We're trying to tell them it's still cool."

Nationally, women earned 57.2 percent of bachelor's degrees and half of science and engineering four-year degrees in 2010, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, a nonprofit based in Lynnwood, Wash., that advocates for girls in STEM — or science, technology, engineering and math — education. Reflecting local numbers, women graduated with more than half the biological science degrees, but only 18 percent of engineering degrees and 43 percent of math and statistics diplomas.

A recent Girl Scout Research Institute study found many girls have an interest in STEM, but they don't prioritize those fields when thinking about their future careers.

The research shows 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM subjects and the general field of study, and 82 percent see themselves as "smart enough to have a career in STEM."

On the other hand, although 81 percent of those interested in STEM are interested in pursuing STEM careers, just 13 percent say it's their first choice, according to the Girl Scouts.

Nearly two-thirds said they were more familiar with other careers than those in STEM fields. And 57 percent agreed they would have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously in STEM careers.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette