Women’s History Month is a wonderful time to reflect on how far women have come in the professional world and to continue encouraging our female students to reach for their dreams. Today, women increasingly enter a wide range of fields, but I cannot help but notice a persistent underrepresentation of women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) career fields.
We’ve come a long way since the 1960s, the decade the recent movie Hidden Figures took place. The blockbuster movie tells the previously overlooked story of the black female NASA mathematicians who helped lead to some of our greatest achievements in space.
In my own career path, I can see how far our society has progressed in opening once male-dominated professions to women. From my start as a state trooper to my roles as a science teacher, principal and Howard County’s first female superintendent, I faced and overcame many challenges. These lessons help me navigate a complex and ever-changing workplace.
That is why I’m incredibly proud of the Howard County Public School System’s efforts in encouraging female students to explore STEM careers, among the countless other professional paths available to women. For example, last month’s Women in Engineering Day provided an opportunity for female Project Lead The Way students to explore engineering further and network with professional women engineers. This is the second year engineering businesses have partnered with us to create a day of activity and mentoring for engineering-minded young women.
Another highlight is the She++ programming club at Marriotts Ridge High School. The club empowers girls to pursue technology, computer science and engineering. She++ club members can take advantage of leadership opportunities, skill building and other activities.