State Rep. Jan Jones today joined a panel of STEM experts to discuss the critical role women in Georgia can have in filling the expected 211,000 jobs by 2018 in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Less than 10 percent of female high school students in Georgia are interested in science, and only about 2 percent are interested in technology, engineering and math, according to a 2013 report by STEMconnector.org. 1
“Women represent nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but only make up about 27 percent of the STEM workforce,” said Jones during the panel event hosted by DeVry University at the state capital’s Sloppy Floyd Building. “It is critical that we continue to inspire our children, especially young women, to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM-related fields.”
Jones, speaker pro tem of the Georgia House of Representatives, was joined on the panel by six female STEM leaders who discussed their experiences and provided guidance for women pursuing degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Program participants were: Connie Haynes, regional director at GeorgiaFIRST; Gilda Lyon, Ed.D., science specialist and STEM coordinator at the Georgia Department of Education; Paulette Norvel Lewis, regional administrator of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor; Kim Ruple from the governance team of the Strategic Supplier Program at The Coca-Cola Company; Monica Thornton, executive director of Women in Technology; and moderator, Stephanie Miles-Richardson, D.V.M. Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventative Medicine, assistant dean of Graduate Education in Public Health and director of the Master of Public Health program at Morehouse School of Medicine.As a longtime champion of women in STEM education, DeVry University encourages high school students to pursue STEM-related careers through its STEM Ready initiatives. One of those initiatives – HerWorld® – is an interactive program presented by DeVry University to high school juniors and seniors across the country every March as part of National HerWorld Month. The program introduces young women to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math through group activities and presentations, as well as live discussions with successful women from top local and national companies. “DeVry University’s goal is to prepare students to be competitive in today’s job market,” said Chris Chavez, Atlanta metro president for DeVry University, who kicked off the panel event. “With educational and career training in STEM-related fields, we’re helping students transition to careers in these important fields and meeting the STEM job need in Georgia and throughout the rest of the country.”