Research shows that while women are attending and completing college at higher rates than ever before, they represent only 26 percent of the college-educated workforce in science and engineering occupations, according to the National Science Board. The Science Center of Iowa wants to help change that with its Girls in Science Initiative, which aims to empower and equip girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And on a recent evening, DMU faculty and students in the doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) program joined the effort as participants in the initiative’s Meals with Mentors event for girls in grades 7-12. The University was among the sponsors of the event.
“I was really blown away by the presence DMU had at this event,” says Sarah Werning, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy, who participated in the event. “I was delighted to see that so many of our D.O. students were also attending as mentors – 13 of them!”
Meals with Mentors allowed participating girls the opportunity to meet female students and scientists working in STEM fields. These successful women, including DMU students and faculty, encourage, advise and empower girls to explore STEM interests and careers. Julie Meachen, Ph.D., an associate professor of anatomy, vertebrate paleontologist and functional morphologist, was the speaker at the recent event.
“My keynote address was about what science I do, and how I got where I am today as a scientist, going from my childhood to getting my job at DMU,” she says. “I also talked about some of the outreach I do and did a little cheerleading for science in general as well as letting the kids know how they can do science, too.”