Chicago

A Look at Why Women in STEM are Switching Careers

The science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields have historically been dominated by men. Although there are increased numbers of women working in STEM, there continues to be a lack of female representation. It was reported earlier this year that women comprise of just 28 percent of employed science and engineering professionals.

Why Women Leave STEM

For the women that go on to pursue careers in STEM, more than half leave them within a decade, which is close to twice the frequency of men in those fields. There have been many different reasons that have been introduced in regards to this occurrence, one being a difference in values between men and women. Whereas men focus more on short-term items such as cost reduction, hierarchy, and resource constraints, women value accountability, balance, continuous improvement, coaching/mentoring and empowerment. Although men also find bureaucracy and hierarchy to impede their achievement, they are more likely to endure the dissatisfaction and continue working. Women, on the other hand, tend to leave for another career when they encounter unnecessary obstacles in their work.

Another reason associated with women leaving STEM jobs is sexual harassment. This is more prevalent in Silicon Valley, where 60% of women have reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior and 90% have witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences. More statistics from the report can be found here.

Additionally, there is the perception that women do not have the traits needed to succeed in science. In a study done by Wellesley College, women were viewed as having communal characteristics such as caring and unselfish, whereas men were associated with agentic characteristics including competitiveness and courageousness. The study revealed that people tend to associate scientists with agentic characteristics and that women appear to be incompatible with science. These cultural stereotypes are creating barriers for the women of today and future generations of women that aspire to be engineers or scientists.

Shaping the Future of Girls in STEM

In recent years, there has been a push for not only increased STEM programs in schools, but also programs tailored to girls to peak their interest and open their eyes to new opportunities. Misha Malyshev and employees from his company, Teza Technologies, support many organizations including buildOn, Adler Planetarium, After-School All-Stars and After School Matters that provide programs that inspire young children to dream of being future engineers or coders. Such programs include Girls Do Hack, Hack Day, Noble STEM Expo, Hour of Code, STEM CampUs, and Junior Research Scientists. Throughout the programs, girls can gain confidence by supporting each other, build a network of peers and find mentors/role models. It’s through these and similar programs where they hopefully begin to break through barriers – where their thoughts are heard, their actions are admired and they are no longer looked upon as inferior.

The push for STEM education in elementary school and earlier

Recent news shows that middle and high schools are increasing spending on their STEM programs to keep up with the national demand for more scientists and engineers. However, many educators at the lower level are trying to get students interested much earlier.

Last month, President Obama held a meeting with public- and private-sector groups in regards to STEM education, which could start as early as pre-school. Groups included NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sesame Workshop, the Girl Scouts and the Fred Rogers Company. The goal of the “early active STEM learning” initiative is to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math as young as possible and to carry that interest throughout middle and high school in hopes of pursuing a career in STEM.

A recent report showed that for the percentage of students who pursue a college major in STEM (16% for math in 2015), only about half work in a related career. At the same time, the projected growth for STEM careers from 2010-2020 remains higher than the average of all occupations. With baby boomers soon retiring, the need for STEM professionals will outweigh the number of people able to fill those positions. Additionally, the United States is lagging behind on an international scale, ranking 29th in math and 22nd in science among industrialized nations.

stem-infographic

The projected growth in STEM jobs is higher than that of all occupations

Currently, the U.S. Department of Education is working towards a cohesive national strategy for STEM, which includes:

  • improving STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade
  • increasing and sustaining public and youth engagement with STEM
  • improving the STEM experience for undergraduate students
  • better serving groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields
  • designing graduate education for tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Science (IES) is also funding research that will examine how early elementary school science teaching can improve outcomes for children from minority and low-income backgrounds.

On a local level, Teza Technologies and CEO Misha Malyshev are active supporters of nonprofits that work with elementary and middle school children outside of the classroom in urban cities to provide academic support and resources. Many Teza employees volunteer their time at After-School All-Stars, After School Matters, buildOn and Adler Planetarium, where they partner with children to teach them about STEM through different educational programs.

After-school all-stars chicago and teza technologies

Teza Technologies Volunteers with Students from After-School All-Stars for Pi Day

ASASIn honor of Pi Day, Teza Technologies employees in the Chicago office teamed up with students from After-School All-Stars for fun activities. They spent the afternoon in small groups working on math exercises, measuring the value of Pi and discussing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

Pi Day is celebrated around the world each year on March 14. Pi is the Greek letter “π” and is a mathematical constant used to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It was first ASAS 2introduced in 1706 by William Jones and later adopted in 1737 by Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician.

Pi consists of more than one trillion digits and continues infinitely, however, only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our universe. Its abbreviated version is commonly known as 3.14159.

 

Teza Employee Speaks at the Noble STEM Expo

This is a post by Jordan Samuels, a quantitative developer at Teza Technologies, about his experience at the first ever Noble STEM Expo. The event was held at Rauner College Prep in Chicago on December 12, 2015.  At the event, Jordan had the opportunity to speak to students in grades nine through twelve about his experience at Teza and working in a STEM career. Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev  actively support events like the Noble STEM Expo that provide educational opportunities for high school students.

Teza Technologies Noble STEM Expo

The Noble STEM Expo gave high school students the opportunity to learn from STEM professionals around Chicago including Teza Technologies employee Jordan Samuels.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with about a dozen students about electronic trading, and how it relates to STEM, at the first Noble Network of Charter Schools STEM Expo. Three hundred Noble students were exposed to a variety of STEM careers at the event, which took place at Rauner College Prep.

I focused my discussion on what trading is at its core, whether it’s floor-based or algorithmic, and what it means to determine a fair market price.  This is a new topic for almost any high school student but my group of students seemed to catch on pretty quickly.  Several of them asked good questions (some of which I didn’t see coming) and they gave good examples when prompted.  They also seemed genuinely grateful for the chance to learn something new.  It was a pleasure for me to be a part of it, and I would gladly do it again anytime.

By Jordan Samuels, quantitative developer at Teza Technologies

 

What Exactly is Girls Do Hack?

Promotional videos have been posted, and GDH recaps have been posted in the past. Here’s some information from the Adler Planetarium on the 2015 installment of Girls Do Hack.

Who: 80 young women, in grades 9-11, from across the city of Chicago

What: The young women will have the opportunity to engage in activities that emphasize skills needed to pursue careers in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Math) fields through hands-on, minds-on experiences and workshops.

How: GDH is created by a team of Adler’s scientists, educators and program specialists, matching girls with actual female STEM professionals that act as mentors.

Why: Women currently make up less than 1/4 of the workforce in STEM fields.

The event is sponsored by Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev.

More information.

 

Students Complete Successful STEM CampUS 2015

STEM CampUs took place last week in Chicago, with 30 middle school students participating in the week-long overnight experience sponsored by Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev. The free camp was hosted at the University of Chicago, with the students using the dorms and dining hall, while attending workshops in college classrooms. The mentorship program paired students with college mentors along with high school students and After-School All-Stars staff providing mentorship and support.

100% of campers said they would recommend the program to a friend and learned the following:

  • How to be a leader
  • How to calculate GPA
  • College application process
  • Importance of letters of recommendation
  • Importance of a mentor or role model in high school
  • Importance of getting involved in high school
  • What to expect in high school

In the Battle of the Apps challenge, the students worked in groups to invent a digital app, develop a business and marketing plan and craft a pitch to sell their ideas. A panel of judges reviewed the plans and selected “Science4U” as the winner. This concept is an education-based app that provided fun activities that target specific science skills for students from elementary to high school.

A panel of high school students from After School Matters answered questions during the daily High School & College Readiness programing. They also learned about the college application precess from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. The campers even received an opportunity to write their own college entrance essays.

In the Career Exploration series, the students visited Teza Technologies, the Chicago Bulls, Microsoft, and the United Way. Students even got chance to play basketball and soccer, view improv comedy from Second City and went on a Wendella Boat Tour to see Navy Pier fireworks over Lake Michigan.

Misha Malyshev: Getting your business past early struggles

Misha Malyshev founded Teza Technologies in 2009 and has since opened up four offices in addition to the headquarters in Chicago. This level of growth is difficult for new businesses, which often face a variety of early struggles. His latest column for Smart Business Chicago features a few key lessons for new businesses.

I can’t overstate the power of positive thinking when building a successful business. The critical blend for an executive is to set ambitious, bar-raising standards while maintaining realistic expectations and an optimistic outlook. The New York Times recently published research detailing the benefits of this approach. When leaders exude confidence and positive energy, employees stay calm, motivated and focused, and naturally this has a positive impact on the company’s bottom line. Gallup research has shown that work units scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly doubled their odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.

Read more of Misha Malyshev’s column.