P.S. 307 Women in STEM

On  March 21, 2019, P.S. 307 hosted its third annual 307 Women in STEM event. Fourteen women from around New York City spoke to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students about their professions. The career fields of these speakers included data science, design strategy, architecture, tech development, health education, and pharmacy.  

The Women in STEM event also ran in conjunction with Women’s History Month in March. It is also known as Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE), a national but locally organized campaign that strives to expose students, particularly girls to STEM-related professions and inspires them to pursue STEM in their learning. Although female students’ achievement in mathematics and science is on par with their male peers, women remain underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce with the greatest disparities in engineering, computer science, and the physical sciences.

At P.S. 307, WiSE has been primarily organized by Ms. Servena Narine, the Special Programs Coordinator for Computer Science and Civic Service. The speakers presented during the S.E.M. Station Session. S.E.M. stands for Schoolwide Enrichment Model and occurs weekly at P.S. 307 on Thursday from 1pm to 2pm. Ms. Narine tried to match each S.E.M. Station to the careers of the women so that students can learn about their career path and how that might relate to the S.E.M. Station. Each woman gave a short presentation about her job at a particular S.E.M. Station. According to Ms. Narine, some of these women had participated in prior years of WiSE while others were newly recommended by teachers and staff at P.S. 307 to present.

During their presentation, the speakers discussed how STEM played an important role in their education, from elementary school all the way to college and graduate school. They also talked about the ubiquitous presence of STEM in their everyday lives, not just in their work. Providing students a visual connection to their profession, they also showed examples of their work, from the websites and products they’ve designed to the kinds of math and science problems they tackle on a daily basis.

Students also had the opportunity to ask questions, which included: “Why did you decide to do this job?”, “Do you enjoy your job?”, “Do you have to travel a lot in your job?”, “How many years have you been working in your job?” and “What is the most satisfying thing about your job?”

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Students filled out reflection surveys after the event. One of the students, Kimae, wrote, “I was glad my school planned this event because it was a lot of fun.”   Laysha, who aspires to be a scientist or a dancer, said she was glad for this event because the speaker “was super nice and she taught us how to collect more data.” An overwhelming majority — more than 80 percent of the students — said they enjoyed the event and wanted it to be repeated next year.

Students received valuable takeaways. Trey learned that it takes many years to figure out what you want to be. Jovon learned that “math can take you places.” Keyshawn, who wants to be a vet when he grows up, said that his speaker was “nice and inspires him to try hard.” Another student, Sanya expressed that she appreciated the event because that she had been “wanting to meet a woman who has her own website” and the “boss of somebody.”

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