Civic Hack Day

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.


Young Achievers of Tomorrow Month

If Teza Technologies employees could connect a monthly observance to the company’s philanthropic mission, it would most closely resemble Young Achievers of Tomorrow Month. This observance is being highlighted throughout the month of May.

Teza Technologies employees and CEO Misha Malyshev are involved in organizations such as After-School All-Stars, buildOn, After School Matters and the Adler Planetarium. Employees volunteer their time as mentors, partnering with at-risk youth to establish positive relationships and share their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math. Misha serves on buildOn’s global leadership council and After School Matters’ advisory board.

These organizations focus on providing students with additional educational opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, typically catering to children living in urban areas. Past programs Teza Technologies employees have volunteered in include Girls Do Hack, Junior Research Scientists, CampUS and Civic Hack Day. For some students, their first introduction to STEM programs is through involvement with these organizations. Having new opportunities opens their eyes to a future they may not have felt was possible or even worth considering beforehand.

The organizations are not only special for their programs, but for the people involved. Studies show that children, especially those living in low socioeconomic status, are highly influenced by their surroundings and tend to become more like the peers with whom they associate. This is why volunteers that spend time mentoring students can make such an impact in their life. Research shows that youth who are involved in mentorship programs are more likely to graduate high school, have healthier relationships and lifestyle choices, enroll in college, have a higher self-esteem and are less likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership, there was an estimated 4.5 million young people in a structured mentoring relationship in 2014 in comparison to the estimated 300,000 from the early 1990s. Through a variety of programs, organizations such as After-School All-Stars, buildOn, After School Matters and the Adler Planetarium are inspiring students to become young achievers of tomorrow with the help from role models.

Math Awareness Month Looks to the Future – What Will Be the Future of Women in Mathematics?

Yogi Berra, paraphrasing Niels Bohr, said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” In celebration of Math Awareness Month, Math Aware and the American Mathematical Society are bringing attention to the study of mathematics. This year’s theme is The Future of Prediction, which will focus on exploring how mathematics and statistics contribute to the future.

More than ever before, girls are studying science and math. However, the same pattern has not transitioned to the workforce. According to CNN, women in STEM fields saw little to no employment growth between 2000 and 2014. Additionally, the number of women in computing and mathematics occupations has not achieved the same growth as women in science and engineering occupations. From 1990 to 2013, the percentage of women in computer and mathematical occupations fell from 35 percent to 26 percent. This has led to an increased lack of female representation in mathematics, especially among minorities.



The percentage of women in science and engineering steadily increased from 1990 to 2013, however, the percentage of women in computer and mathematical occupations decreased 11 percent over the same period.

The percentage of women in science and engineering steadily increased from 1990 to 2013, however, the percentage of women in computer and mathematical occupations decreased 11 percent over the same period.


Research shows that girls show the same amount of interest in math and science as boys do up until middle school, at which point girls begin to lose interest. CNN reached out to women entrepreneurs and executives in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to gain their perspectives on the lack of girls pursuing STEM careers. Most of the women stressed the importance of introducing girls to STEM early by connecting them with mentors in the field and providing technical workshops that will help them realize their potential in STEM careers.

This insight, however, is not only being recognized by women. With society’s pressure to close the gender gap in STEM occupations, an increased number of initiatives have been created to entice and harness interest in science and math among girls. These initiatives include a variety of programs, workshops and camps that connect young girls with women in the STEM field to engage in hands-on activities.

Throughout his many philanthropic endeavors, Misha Malyshev, CEO of Teza Technologies, has displayed his passion for creating educational opportunities for women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. He understands the importance of introducing these subject areas to girls at a young age in the hopes that they will grow into leaders in their industry. Each year, Misha sponsors events such as Girls Do Hack and Civic Hack Day that teach girls about STEM careers. It is these programs and similar ones that open doors, create learning opportunities and motivate groups of young girls to discover their passion, leading to a strong foundation of women mathematicians, scientists and engineers in the future.


Civic Hack Day Results

The Adler Planetarium has released the results from it’s 2014 Civic Hack Day that took place May 31 – June 1. The event coincided with the National Day of Civic Hacking and focused on youth engagement as young people worked with adults to find solutions to issues effecting those living in Chicago.

Projects included LGBT Homelessness, giveNkind Website Development Initiative, SCCoogle, CityData, Grounded, amd Healthy Relationships. To read about each project, visit the Adler results page.

Teza’s Vegim Begolli: Inspiring Youth to Participate in STEM


Teza Systems Engineer, Vegim Begolli, has authored a blog post on the Adler Planetarium website about his experience as a volunteer  judge at Civic Hack Day.

“From my experience, Civic Hack Day really strived to inspire people to think and solve problems. All of the ideas focused on one central theme:  a platform to help people access information. I think that if more people came up with concepts like these and brought them to fruition, our world would gain high quality platforms to serve those who need it most.”


Read his full blog post here.


Thanks to Adler Planetarium & Civic Hack Day This Weekend

Thank you Adler Planetarium for Twitter chat yesterday! Visit @MishaMalyshev1 on Twitter to view the conversation.

As a reminder, Civic Hack Day is this weekend!



Adler Engages Students, STEM Professionals to Build, Design, and Innovate to Help Address Civic Issues 

The Adler Planetarium will host Civic Hack Day, presented by Teza, on May 31 through June 1, 2014, as part of the nationwide National Day of Civic Hacking. Hack Days bring together young people and groups of software developers, designers, scientists, engineers, artists and those who like to find creative solutions to challenges in their communities. As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, the Adler will engage Chicago youth, mentors and highly skilled STEM professionals in producing technology solutions to civic issues that affect low-income communities.

“Through Hack Days we leverage the power of many minds to improve our local communities,” said Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D., Adler Planetarium president & CEO. “Civic Hack Day at the Adler is an opportunity for Chicagoans to combine creativity and technology to change our city for the better.”

Participants will be divided up into categories including:

• Problem Owner – Individuals and organizations from the community that present problems affecting the lives of Chicagoans.

• Hacker – Problem solvers of all kinds – designers, engineers, scientists, programmers, artists, technicians, educators, tinkerers, carpenters, welders, tradesmen or anyone who can help the teams create solutions to the presented problems. Hackers and Problem Owners must register at

•The teams will also address issues identified through a partnership with Mikva Challenge, a local nonprofit that engages youth in identifying community challenges and developing solutions, and Free Sprit Media, a nonprofit that provides educational experiences for teens in media production. The Adler, Mikva Challenge and Free Spirit Media will together bring problems to teams based on projects the organizations have researched, designed and built around school culture, juvenile justice and youth employment.

Additionally, guests ages 12 to 20 can participate in a series of workshops designed to embody the spirit of hacking. These workshops include:

• Design A Planetarium Sky Show – Using Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope, the same tool used by the Adler’s show design team, participants will design and build a sky show. This workshop will take place from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on May 31.

• Project Z: How to Stay Fashionable During a Zombie Apocalypse – In the post-zombie apocalypse world, humans do not have many raw materials to work with, and all new clothing and accessories must be fashioned out of old materials. In this challenge, participants will be tasked with transforming recycled materials into trendy outfits. This workshop will take place from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. on May 31.

• Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge – Instead of finding an easy solution to a hard problem, this challenge will task teams with creating a machine that performs a simple task through a series of creative cause-and-effect steps. This workshop will take place from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. on May 31.

The Adler’s Hack Day events are designed for two main audiences: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals, who are motivated to share their skills and passion with others; and curious and motivated youth, ranging from middle to high school. While the individual activities vary in style, the overarching objective is to have fun and raise awareness for science and technology as tools for innovation.

On November 15, the Adler will host the second annual Girls Do Hack event. Partnering with community and youth organizations and the Chicago Public Schools, the Adler will invite teams of young women to the museum to work with role models in STEM-related fields.

Teza is the presenting sponsor of Civic Hack Day and Girls Do Hack. Founded in 2009, Teza is a science and technology driven global quantitative trading business headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York and London.

“Similar to how we operate at Teza, Civic Hack Day encourages participants to ask questions, think creatively, and focus on solving complex problems through technology,” said Misha Malyshev, Ph.D., Teza CEO. “As active supporters of STEM education, we are proud to support this important initiative to ensure that Chicago continues on a trajectory of achievement and excellence.”



Civic Hack Day is Almost Here

The 2014 Civic Hack Day at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago is fast-approaching, taking place this Saturday, May 31 until Sunday, June 1. Presented by Misha Malyshev and Teza Technologies, the purpose of the event is twofold; allowing innovators and professionals to come together to find solutions to current issues faced by citizens of Chicago, and encouraging the pursuit of STEM careers among the city’s youth.

Civic Hack Day will take a unique approach to improving the quality of everyday life in Chicago, dividing participants into “problem owner” and “hacker” groups to find solutions to issues plaguing individuals and organizations within the Chicago area. “Hacker” groups will consist of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including designers, engineers, scientists, programmers, and tradesman, and will work alongside problem owners to create solutions to the presented problems.

“Through Hack Days we leverage the power of many minds to improve our local communities,” said Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D., Adler Planetarium president & CEO. “Civic Hack Day at the Adler is an opportunity for Chicagoans to combine creativity and technology to change our city for the better.”

A portion of the program will also be dedicated to guests ages 12 to 20 who wish to get a glimpse into STEM-related professions. The Design A Planetarium Sky Show and Project Z: How to Stay Fashionable During a Zombie Apocalypse, and the Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge, are workshops designed to embody the spirit of hacking, driving interest among Chicago youth to learn more about various STEM-related fields.

More information and registration for Civic Hack Day can be found at the Adler Planetarium website. Event participants are encouraged to use the hashtag, #hackforchange to help promote the event and civic hacking projects.