#IAmAWomanInSTEM Awards 11 Students for Promoting STEM Education, Careers to Women

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By Jenny Wells

The University of Kentucky’s #IAmAWomanInSTEM project has awarded scholarships to 11 UK students for project proposals that promote STEM education and careers for women.

Females are less likely than their male counterparts to pursue an education in the STEM disciplines, which include science, technology, engineering and math. The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative, which launched at UK last year, seeks to change that by recruiting hundreds of female student ambassadors who are encouraging the study of STEM and health care among women at UK, and empowering them to persist in those fields.

“As a public research institution and the state's flagship, UK has an important role in promoting graduation of women in STEM majors,” said Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost and advisor of the program. “Taking our lead from UK undergraduate women leaders, the #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative evidences a strong stand in bringing together undergraduate students and their mentors to heighten awareness and find new ways of thinking about this very complex issue. The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative will soon expand beyond UK, but these undergraduate women and their mentors here are the founders and it is an honor to be a small part in this movement.”

The new scholarship awardees will further the program's mission by developing leadership projects to raise awareness of implicit bias, stereotype threat and overt discrimination to increase the number of female STEM graduates, and to encourage continued participation in STEM and health care career fields.

Funded by the UK Women & Philanthropy Network, each student received $2,000 to support her project.

The winners and their projects are:

  • Heather Campbell, mechanical engineering senior Project: STEM Groups  
  • Tsage Douglas, public health sophomore Project: Semper Crescente (Always Growing) K12 outreach  
  • Taylor Ford, chemical engineering senior Project: FemSTEMpower-ment  
  • Cameron Ginter, architecture senior Project: STEM Spaces for Teaching, Encouragement, and Mentorship  
  • Katie Kloska, chemistry junior Project: An Autobiographical  
  • Kayla Kuhfeldt, biology senior Project: STEM Groups & social media accounts  
  • Julia Maier, biology senior Project: #IAmAWomanInSTEM Social Media Outreach  
  • Mollye Malone, biosystems engineering junior Project: #IAAWIS Student Organization (and K12 outreach)  
  • Ndeye Thiaw, biology senior Project: #IAAWIS Student Organization  
  • Hannah Thompson, biology sophomore Project: WOW: STEM Woman of the Week  
  • Amanda McCullough, fourth year doctoral student in economics Project: Offering a ECO 391 section focused on gender and STEM

All the proposed projects fall under specific themes, and many awardees will work together in achieving their desired outcomes. These themes include:

  • Boosting Student Organization Infrastructure to Increase Retention/Persistence (Malone, Thiaw, Campbell, Ford)
  • Increasing Opportunities for Student Ambassadors to Work Together for Outreach in Underrepresented Communities (Douglas)
  • Increasing Social Media Presence and Connections Across Higher Ed Institutions and Business/Industry (Ford, Kloska, Kuhfeldt, Maier, Thompson)
  • Finding Spaces on Campus for STEM+H Women to Feel Welcome, Network (Ginter)
  • Continue to Research and Explore Findings Re: Gender and STEM in Higher Ed and Business (McCullough)

About #IAmAWomanInSTEM In addition to the increasingly popular social media campaign around the #IAmAWomanInSTEM hashtag, the initiative focuses on a mentoring program that connects student ambassadors with female faculty members and women in business and industry who have STEM and health care backgrounds. 

The organization has since partnered with Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton’s Million Women Mentors Kentucky chapter and the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative to raise awareness on the need for mentors for undergraduate women in STEM-related fields.

For more information, visit www.uky.edu/IAmAWomanInSTEM or find the group on social media at @IAmAWomanInSTEM.

#IAmAWomanInSTEM Steering Committee

  • Shelby Albers, analytics developer, UK Information Services;
  • Heather Campbell, mechanical engineering major;
  • Michelle Cassin, CEO, 180 Aspire LLC;
  • Krista Citron, project manager engineer, Kentucky American Water;
  • Kate Collins, physics major;
  • Liz Debski, associate professor, Department of Biology, UK College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Kate Eddens, assistant professor, Health Behavior, UK College of Public Health;
  • Isabel Escobar, professor, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, College of Engineering;
  • Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost, UK Provost's Office of Academic Excellence;
  • Mollye Malone, biology major;
  • Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, associate professor, STEM Education, UK College of Education;
  • Dana Niedowicz, research scientist, UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging;
  • Thushani Rodrigo-Peiris, Kentucky Bridge to a Biomedical Doctorate Program Administrator, UK College of Medicine;
  • Ndeye Thiaw, biology major;
  • Hannah Thompson, biology major; and
  • Beth Young, graduate student and teaching assistant, Department of Biology, UK College of Arts and Sciences.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

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