Encouraging the STEM Workforce of the Future


Encouraging the STEM Workforce of the Future

April 14, 2016

At Intellectual Ventures (IV), we are committed to empowering more young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. That’s why we’re proud to be a sponsor of Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing gateway STEM experiences to middle and high school girls that spark interest in STEM. 

Left: Nicole Dalluge and Christy Barwick run IV’s booth at the EYH career fair. Right: Svetlana Titova charts infection rates during a workshop.

Currently, data shows that women are still heavily underrepresented in STEM fields; according to U.S. News and World Report, women represent just 24 percent of the engineering workforce, 36 percent of the computing workforce, and 18 percent of the advanced manufacturing workforce. IV and EYH recognize that engaging with female STEM role models and participating in hands-on activities can inspire girls to further pursue STEM education and consider a career in a related field. Several IV employees joined three local EYH conferences over the last month to foster a passion for STEM among local middle and high school girls. You can check out our first post on IV’s participation here: “Empowering Girls to Pursue STEM with Expanding Your Horizons.”

The Importance of STEM Role Models

In addition to the IV volunteers presenting workshops, Christy Barwick, treasurer, and Nicole Dalluge, finance manager, staffed IV’s booth at the career fair portion of the conference, meeting with many of the young women in attendance and answering their questions about working in a STEM-related field. Christy and Nicole shared their professional journeys with the students and fielded questions about how they used STEM skills to get to where they are today, providing the girls with positive role models who are active in STEM-related careers. EYH conferences aim to facilitate meaningful conversations such as this between the attendees and women who have parlayed their passion for STEM into successful careers. These conversations help the young women envision doing the same in the future.

“As a mother of two young girls, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet these young women and talk to them about their current interests and how those could one day translate into successful careers. Even a quick conversation about my journey in finance and technology can spark inspiration and instill confidence in these young women.” –Christy Barwick

“Sharing IV’s story of innovation and exposing high school girls to the possibilities that lie ahead is invigorating, it’s one of the reasons we volunteer year after year.” –Nicole Dalluge

STEM Learning with IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling

On March 25, EYH held a STEM conference at Bellevue College for 600 high school girls to foster awareness of STEM career opportunities and encourage them to participate in related activities. Jaline Gerardin and Svetlana Titova, from IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling, presented a fascinating workshop on infectious diseases fittingly entitled ‘Epidemics!’ With recent outbreaks such as Ebola and the Zika virus top of mind, Jaline and Svetlana used a video of disease modeling to make a quick impression on the girls while capturing their undivided attention. The participants discovered how diseases like Ebola and malaria spread in different populations, and learned about potential ways to control future epidemics. The workshop also challenged the girls to address probability modeling and encouraged them to think critically about the ways in which we can look to eradicate or contain diseases globally.

Many thanks to Expanding Your Horizons for hosting an engaging series of conferences, and to all of our IV employees for volunteering their time to mentor students and to inspire girls to pursue a career in STEM.

Follow our IV in the Community series by subscribing to our newsletter, and check out more quotes from IV volunteers and mentors on our Facebook  LinkedIn pages.

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