The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently announced it will be awarding County College of Morris (CCM) a $4,730 grant so the college can broaden its reach to encourage more women to major in science, technology, engineering and math.
Recognizing the value of pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM as they are collectively known, has had in their own lives, a group of female professors at CCM earlier this year banded together to inspire more women to do the same.
“We’re delighted and honored that the AAUW is supporting us in our efforts to attract more women to STEM fields,” said Dean Patrick Enright of the Division of Business, Mathematics, Engineering and Technologies at CCM. “STEM careers are rewarding and well-paying, yet women continue to be underrepresented in these fields. With the AAUW’s generous support, our goal is to help turn that around.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women fill only 24 percent of all science, technology, engineering and math jobs. Female STEM enrollment at CCM mirrors that national data.
As part of increasing the number of women enrolled in STEM programs, Keri Flanagan, assistant professor of chemistry; Kelly Fitzpatrick, assistant professor of mathematics; Deborah Poetsch, instructor of mathematics; and Kathryn Shuck, instructor of mathematics, initiated the formation of the Women in STEM club for CCM students. The club is part of the college’s larger initiative to encourage more women to enter STEM fields.
With the funding from AAUW, CCM plans to reach out to female high school students, in addition to women already enrolled at the college. For the past 20 years, CCM has conducted its annual Women Who Dare program to expose high school students to STEM programs. As part of its new initiative, the college plans to expand upon that by also offering a spring speaker luncheon to inspire female high school students to consider STEM college majors.
The grant also will allow the college to produce promotional materials, including a STEM website, to better inform women about the opportunities that exist within science, technology, engineering and math.
Female students who enroll as STEM majors at CCM each be assigned a female faculty advisor to guide and direct them.
“We want our students to feel empowered,” says Poetsch. “We want to encourage them to pursue their interests.”
To learn more about STEM majors at CCM, visit www.ccm.edu/academics/