Girls at Boys & Girls Clubs are igniting interests in STEM careers through digital access, mentorship and cutting-edge technologies at local STEM Centers of Innovation.
For generations, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields have lacked diversity. This is particularly true for female STEM representation – while women account for nearly half of the overall U.S. workforce, they hold only 14% of engineering jobs. Representation in computer jobs — such as computer science, software development and programming — has actually decreased, from 32% in 1990 to 25% in 2016.
Even more important than the future of our workforce is the digital access girls need right now to succeed academically. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know now more than ever how important it is to equip girls with the technological tools to thrive in a digital environment and overcome challenges to digital access they may face at home.
But the future of female representation in STEM is a bright one – especially as today’s girls are bridging the digital divide and igniting interests in STEM careers at their local Boys & Girls Club.
At the Club, girls have access to technology, programming and mentorship that allows them to be successful academically and explore careers in the STEM workforce. Some Clubs also have a local STEM Center of Innovation, made possible by Raytheon Technologies, which offer access to advanced technologies like 3-D printers, robotics, high-definition video production and conferencing equipment while providing individual and group support and creating a safe space to grow confidence.
With exciting STEM career exploration like this available at the Club, 80% of Club girls say they’re curious to learn more about science, computers or technology, and 47% say they would like to have a STEM-related job one day.*
For 2020-2021 National Military Youth of the Year, Bethany C., a current engineering major and sophomore at New Mexico State University, her love for science and engineering started at her local STEM Center of Innovation at the Kirtland AFB Youth Center. “The on-site STEM expert helped me build my critical thinking skills. Now, I’m always excited to show my family the STEM skills I’ve learned, which all started at my Youth Center,” says Bethany.
Sites like these open doors for girls like Bethany to find their passions and receive exceptional educational tools to guide them into STEM fields and perhaps more importantly, build their self-esteem and become the tech trailblazers of the future. “I was different, and Club staff did not shy away from this,” says Bethany. “My mentors encouraged my uniqueness and taught me to never be ashamed.”
As Bethany tackles college courses in physics, music, creative writing, astronomy and policy, she relies on the critical thinking and resiliency skills she nurtured at her Raytheon Technologies-funded STEM Center of Innovation.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to empowering girls and young women like Bethany to build their skills and experiences in STEM, as well as sports, the arts and leadership opportunities. We believe in the power of safe spaces, caring mentors and life-enhancing programs to forge lasting self-confidence and great futures for the next generation of women.
Read more about Bethany’s experience forging her own path and learn how Boys & Girls Clubs are empowering girls to reach their full potential.
*2021 BGCA National Youth Outcomes Initiative Member Survey