A local initiative is helping female high school students in Beijing gain exposure to careers in STEMM industries -- science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.
Several WAB students and teachers have been part of the pilot program's cohort, visiting offices and labs of some of the world's leading companies. The group meets with representatives from the company virtually, and then the following week they visit the company’s offices or laboratory.
So far, the group has visited Microsoft, HPE, Merck, ExxonMobil, and Mars.
“I have found the most interesting thing was to be part of the panel discussions where I was able to hear individual women talk about their roles in the company, and specifically when we were able to ask questions, because I was able to hear about their passions in their jobs,” Grade 10 student Stella D., who is aiming to pursue a career in medicine, said. “Going to these companies and seeing women in these roles inspires girls like us.”
Stella and Jaima Holland, WAB physics teacher and faculty supervisor of the group, joined The WAB Podcast to discuss their experience in the program and their views on how Beijing's Girls in STEMM program fits into the larger global movement. You can listen using the players above, visiting The WAB Podcast page, or clicking the cover image on the right to find it on Apple Podcasts.
“This was an opportunity that I jumped at the chance to be a part of,” Jaima said about volunteering to be a faculty supervisor in the group. “I still have things to learn about doing a better job of promoting diversity and empowering girls. We’re still overcoming the history of women not being allowed to work in the sciences.”
The Girls in STEMM program is an initiative launched by SCHSAsia consulting group and its principal project, the Women's Advisory Council (WAC), an engaged network of leaders and decision-makers committed to advancing gender equality in businesses and the wider community in China.
"Programs like Girls in STEMM are crucial to build a bridge between girls and the professional world of STEMM in order to engage and develop their confidence in these fields for the long-term," Charlotte Smith, SCHSAsia's Senior Project Management Consultant, said."Our hope is that participating in this program will be a memorable and impactful experience for the girls that remains close to their hearts and minds as they move forward to make life-changing decisions about university and beyond."
Programs like these contribute to how students, teachers, and entire communities view worldwide inclusion and equity efforts.
“It just takes a small seed to be planted for programs like this to spread and really grow,” Jaima said. “I would encourage more teachers to get involved with programs like this and start their own…and to celebrate things that take place on a global scale – celebrate them locally and make them very visible in your community.”
To find out more about this initiative and to hear other stories about innovative learning experiences at WAB, check out The WAB Podcast page.