Women in STEM gather in the gardens

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STEM students who are very passionate about Women Representation Photo credit: Eden Burke

“If you have an interest at all, go for it, shoot for the stars, have big dreams and good things will come to you,” said Natalie Macbeth, a faculty member from the Department of Design and Construction Management.

Macbeth encourages young women to pursue their passions, because that is the only way their dreams can become a reality.

With the influx of students BYU-Idaho received this fall, the number of women in the STEM field also increased.

At 6 p.m. in the Ricks Gardens on September 23, BYU-I’s Society of Women Engineers held an event to honor and connect women in STEM. This helped bring more awareness to female representation in what is a predominately male industry.

There were several different booths at the venue. The following booths included people from the mathematics, chemistry, physics, automotive technology, engineering, virtual design and construction, and technology and engineering disciplines. They each had models of projects previous students had created. Each section had faculty members of those departments with brochures and ways to join their programs.

Technology and Engineering Booth
Technology and Engineering Booth Photo credit: Eden Burke

“The engineering and technology, or more specifically the automotive program, is very successful here at BYU-I,” said Austin Walker, a senior studying Engineering Technology.

“We have pretty much a 100% job placement in the technology and engineering department,” Walker said. “Most have a secure job before even graduating.”

There were all different types of majors at the event, ranging from mathematics education to electrical engineering.

People lining up for foods and booths.
People lining up for foods and booths. Photo credit: Eden Burke

“It’s really hard sometimes being what you can’t see,” said Anneke Allart, a senior minoring in physics.

 

Because the ratio of women to men in the STEM field is divided, there is less encouragement and emphasis for young girls to invest in a STEM degree.

According to the United States Census, out of 10.8 million people employed in STEM careers in the U.S., only 26.7% of them are women.

A large portion of the women in the STEM majors here on campus said it is something that both challenges and encourages them. It is within the challenge that keeps their passions growing.

“It is comforting to know that there is a population of women there with me, and this event just proves my point,” said Madelaine Curtis, a sophomore studying virtual design and construction.

STEM students
STEM students Photo credit: Eden Burke

 

Multiple women in STEM at BYU-I have said that it feels like a family on campus because their professors are very inclusive and loving.

“I want every little girl to know that she can be whatever she wants to be,” Allart said. “She doesn’t have to be limited in any aspect. If she wants to be a rocket scientist, if she wants to be a cosmetologist, if she wants to be an art teacher — she can.”

As more and more students enter campus, there will be more encouragement for young women to join STEM programs and societies that BYU-I offers. BYU-I professors from this event showed how much hard work and dedication it takes to be a woman in STEM.

“If you want it,” Allart said, “you go after it.”