Reducing gender gap in STEM

In an effort to bridge the gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, the newly formed Diamond Bar High School club Women in STEM offers learning opportunities and networking, in hopes of empowering girls to increase female representation in STEM.

As a branch of the international organization, DBHS WiSTEM has served as the host for  various panelists and guest speakers from all over the globe to speak with students about their work and research in their fields. 

“Although many have grown aware of the STEM gender gap, there was still a lack of initiatives on campus to combat this social issue,” DBHS WiSTEM founder and president sophomore Anna Chen said via email. “Therefore, I decided to start WiSTEM to make STEM education more accessible and encourage girls who are deciding what they want to pursue to explore STEM fields.”

DBHS WiSTEM was ratified by the Inter-Organization Council in early 2021, so every event or meeting has been held over Zoom. After selecting officers by reaching out to potential candidates, the club quickly gained roughly 30 active members by advertising to DBHS students through Instagram.

“Because things are online, we are able to connect with more people,” DBHS WiSTEM publicist junior Melody Mao said. “The online platform has benefited our club a lot.”

One memorable  event was the biochemistry panel event, held on March 29, featuring a diverse group  of six female doctors and a graduate student, all of whom are biochemistry specialists. The speakers represented research centers at prestigious colleges all over the nation, including Yale and UC Berkeley. Students were able to interact with the panel by asking questions to gain a better understanding of their work as women in STEM.

“My favorite [event] was the biochemistry panel because, listening to the unique stories of seven professors, researchers and graduate students, I realized how much freedom the seemingly technical field has and that there is no correct way to study science since simply investigating what sparks one’s curiosity can lead to remarkable discoveries,” Chen said via email.

Through these seminars, DBHS WiSTEM hopes to educate more students about the gender gap within the STEM field and introduce the idea of a STEM career to female students.

“One goal we have for next year is to continue getting more speakers and introducing our students and making known other internships and opportunities for our members to explore,” DBHS WiSTEM treasurer junior Kristin Joe said.

While  STEM has traditionally been a male dominated field, DBHS WiSTEM pushes the message that girls are equally capable of making achievements in STEM.

“It’s known from a young age that men are more prevalent and are seen more in STEM fields and it is hard for a woman to be seen,” Mao said. “We want to give opportunities for women to discover the STEM field so they too can have an equal opportunity to participate.”