Club Spotlight: Women in STEM
By: Landon Groves
Women in college are 1.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to stop pursuing STEM degrees after taking the first course in the calculus series, according to a study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. In the United States alone, women earn only 35 percent of all STEM degrees, despite making up half the US workforce. Here at Western, one group is looking to fight that statistic.
The Women in STEM club aims to provide a venue for students to get together and support one another in pursuit of their STEM degrees. They meet in a variety of ways, including weekly meetings, potluck dinners and resume workshops.
“Our main goal this year is to do more volunteer outreach, more community service and more events that enhance the resumes of our members,” said junior Elizabeth Yarbrough, a co-lead officer of the club. “As a whole, our mission is to empower women in STEM, and create more opportunities for our members.”
The club also serves as a way for older students to mentor new members on subjects like advising, career planning and making connections in the field, Yarbrough said.
“That’s also part of our goal,” said senior Katey Williams, another co-lead officer. “You get to meet a lot of other people in the same major as you.”
On Oct. 25, the club held a bake sale on Vendors Row to raise funds for an event later on in the quarter that hasn’t been decided upon yet. Yarbrough said they might use the money to fund an event at the planetarium.
One thing Yarbrough loves about the club is the balance it provides between socializing and productivity.
“There’s a healthy mix between talking about classes and teachers and watching videos, and then there’s also doing events and being productive as a club,” Yarbrough said. “So it’s a healthy mix of fun, and also a different kind of fun.”
Western’s Women in STEM club began in 2010 as a group affiliated with the Association for Women in Science, but parted ways with them in the fall of 2016. Now, the group is an independently operated organization within Western consisting of about 20 regularly attending members.
Club membership is not exclusive to women – all gender identities are welcome to help promote their message.
The group meets at 5 p.m. every Wednesday in Academic Instructional Center West.
Western’s Women in STEM club can be found at www.facebook.com/WWUWiSTEM