STEM – We hear about it in the news, in magazines and on TV shows. But why is there so much dialogue about it and how does it affect you?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A term used to group together these academic areas. Discussing and promoting STEM related programs have become a priority because too few university students are pursuing careers in these fields. These fields have historically been male dominated fields and in comparison, the very low participation of women in these fields has been particularly noticeable. It is a fact that few women pursue STEM careers.

There are a lot of great initiatives aimed at increasing STEM participation for youth. And while young women have started entering university STEM fields more regularly, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the women who have come before them. Where are they now – the potential scientists, engineers and STEM enthusiasts who didn’t have the mentoring and sponsorship that is available today? Have they missed out entirely?

We can’t deny the world is changing and more than ever we need all of us to solve problems around climate & pollution, transportation and city infrastructures – solutions that will need innovation, inclusion and diversity. Teams of technical problem solvers will be needed, but there are many groups who still don’t have a voice in this space or who feel STEM is not for them.

I have been a STEM professional for 19 years now – over the course of my engineering career I have been involved in the high school FIRST robotics teams and tournaments. I have acted as a mentor to young women and consulted with several Niagara-based organizations who want to promote the local STEM economy.

I want to help you understand what STEM can do for you and how it works in your community. I have launched a series of STEM based workshops called Women in STEM Experiences (WISE). This will introduce women to topics such as robotics, environmental science, space sciences and chemistry to gain practical, hands-on skills in a fun, interactive environment. We’ll meet professionals in the field and be inspired by them sharing their STEM experiences with us, teaching us how to “do STEM”. We’ll have fun, take home lessons we can share with friends and family, and hopefully add more to the great STEM stories that are out there. “WISE Wednesdays” will take place in November and December at Spark Niagara, in Niagara Falls. Workshop proceeds support the YWCA of Niagara Region.

Never done STEM before? These workshops are for you!

Love STEM and want more? Also, for you!

Want to be more STEM savvy with your family? Yes!! This is for you! Bring your daughter/mother/niece/friends kids with you and kickstart the STEM conversation in your home.

Have a STEM expertise you want to share? Let’s talk about future inspiring workshops.

I hope, if I can help generate the spark of interest, we can look around us and know that we helped to make Niagara a better place. And perhaps by the time my three year old daughter is selecting her future, the stigmas and roadblocks for girls pursuing a career in STEM subjects will truly be eliminated, and we’ll be closer to creating innovative and amazing teams of STEM problem solvers that the world needs.

This is my guide to learning STEM. I hope it can be yours too.

Links to register:

Contact for more information:
Stephanie Thompson, P.Eng.
Founder, Women in STEM Experiences

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