GIT Girls Are Future Women Leaders in STEAM

VA GIT Mentor Session LeadershipBy Jenny Oh.

 Women continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and in leadership positions.  Girls in Technology Mentor-Protégé program is intended to inspire girls into STEM careers and increase the gender balance in the workforce.  The Leadership session is tailored to equip high school girls with professional values so that they can take their STEM talents from the classroom to the boardroom.

Networking Session – Female Role Models

In the beginning of Session 2, the Virginia Mentors and Protégés had an opportunity to start the evening reacquainting with each other.  Whitney Vickrey, our GIT Mentor Liaison, and the Protégés had fun demonstrating their 3 PUMP handshake and sharing who their favorite female role models are.

Not all of us know who all of these women are, but it is important for us know the accomplishments of other women to ignite the inspiration within us.  And to know what is important to us.  During our sessions we hope you will learn new “Women You Should Know, and that you continue to look for women who inspire you and learn from their example.  Please share with us who your female role models are via Facebook and/or Twitter!

GIT Session – Classroom to the Boardroom

GIT From Classroom to Boardroom

GIT Virginia Mentor-Protégé Program Chair, Jenny Oh, asked Protégés to raise their hands if they wanted to go to college.  Every Protégé in the room raised their hand.  Then Jenny asked if graduating high school automatically guarantees college acceptance.  We all know that is not the case.  In fact, we have to prepare years in advance.  Have the grades, take the SAT’s, and write college applications…  The path from high school to college is not automatic, but a path we have to work for.  The things we want in life don’t always happen automatically.  We have to work really hard, and we have to design our path to achieve the things that we want to accomplish in life.  Jenny helped Protégés understand that leadership roles in our jobs also does not come automatically.

Statistical Overview of Working Women and in STEM

The Protégés looked at a statistical overview of working American females.  Over 50% of the workforce are women, yet less than 15% of women are in leadership positions.  24% of STEAM positions are filled by women.  The Protégés are the future women in STEAM.  What is the reality of women in STEAM leadership positions?!  The Protégés were saddened to see this and asked, “so, how do we balance the graph, how can women fill more leadership roles, how can they, the Protégés, fill STEAM leadership roles?!”  How can a girl take their STEAM talents from the classroom to the boardroom?

Protégés know that the journey from the classroom to the boardroom is not automatic.  Having a STEAM background will get them a seat at the table.  But they need to design their journey to have a seat at the head of the table.  Part of that preparation is developing leadership skills and values early on.

Irene Lane & Guest Speaker Alka Dhillon
Irene Lane & Guest Speaker Alka Dhillon

GIT Talks – Females in the Leadership Role

GIT Talks Moderator, Irene Lane, interviewed Alka Dhillon of Technalink, to discuss Alka’s journey and approach to leadership.  Together they discussed:

  • Leadership Styles and Approaches
  • Knowing how to find the silver lining in Failure
  • Leadership Values

Irene and the Mentors and Protégés discussed how they are demonstrating leadership today, as well as how they can adopt their own leadership styles to apply in their lives.

Mentoring Session – Leadership Starts Today

Mentors and Protégés met and expanded their discussions on how to close the leadership gap for women in STEAM.  After the GIT Session, we all learned that leadership traits are not born, but created from within.  We can start being a leader today.  Mentor Nadia S’ad Mulaire encouraged girls to be brave and persevere through challenging situations, as well as make the leap of faith for yourself.  Mentor Monica Thompson mentioned that a leader not only provides her own perspective, but also takes into consideration others.  Mentor Huma Azim’s insight on leadership is that there is no one style, and the key is to make it your own personal style.

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