Regardless of years of effort to make a difference, the gender gap in the sciences remains wide. The many efforts from public school systems, colleges and universities, various non-profits, and even the Girls Scouts, are having an impact but we must continue to do more. We are all working to create job shadowing programs and other experiences for young girls to get them more involved in STEM programs, i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, to continue to have this impact.
At Des Moines University (DMU), our “Girls in Science” program is all about education, increasing awareness, and having fun. I believe once girls are excited about science and careers in particular in the health sciences, their self-esteem improves and can be sustained. The U.S. Department of Education has found that girls “who have a strong self-concept regarding their abilities in math and science are more likely to choose and perform well in elective math and sciences courses and to select math and science-related college majors and careers”.
We are doing our part at DMU, and for me this is one of the most exciting times to be on campus. To be in a room with about 200 middle school girls all smiling and eager to go, is the fun part of my job. The excitement is contagious as they go from station to station to learn about all that we have to offer in the health sciences. They get to rotate through anatomy labs, a surgical skills lab, as well as a nutrition/wellness stations. They leave with a renewed sense of confidence in their ability and hopefully a greater love for science and DMU!
Thanks to our student leaders and faculty who make this a success every year! We will continue to do our part to inspire, educate, and support those who aspire to careers in the sciences.