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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Four young women point way to STEM future

Faith Gillman writes, "Four young Maine women from different towns and schools have a number of things in common. In addition to being exceptional students and recent high school graduates, each also loves math and science and plans a career in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field."

The students also are outstanding examples of what the future may hold for other young women with a passion for STEM subjects.

“I like biology and am pretty good in math. It’s a good combination,” said Abigail Doyle, who is 18 and lives in Kennebunk. “Growing up, I thought I would be an artist. But as I got into math I started to think about architecture. Then in high school I had more biology classes and chemistry and anatomy and that built to bioengineering. I realized I liked it.”

Doyle will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall, majoring in biomedical engineering. While she wasn’t always a big fan of biology, Doyle, who attended Kennebunk High School, said that changed a few years ago, as classes became more rigorous.

“Math has always been a fairly strong subject for me, but biology is now one of my favorites,” said Doyle. “Chemistry classes were hard but I enjoyed the challenge.”

Jen Bartlett, a guidance counselor at Kennebunk High School, said there have always been girls like Doyle who excel at math and science.

“What has changed is the trend of girls who do well in those subjects and go on to study them in college,” said Bartlett, who has been a counselor for nearly two decades. “But it’s still a bit less common for young women to choose the sciences. When they do, in my experience they lean a bit more toward the health-related sciences than the mechanical or electrical engineering fields.”