STEM CampUs

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.

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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 on STEM CampUS

Teza CEO, Misha Malyshev, is among those speaking in the video below about STEM CampUS, a Teza sponsored event that promotes exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and math. STEM CampUs was put on by After-School All-Stars.

Malyshev joined the ASAS board in 2014.

 

 

After-School All-Stars today announced the successful completion of their five-day STEM CampUs summer camp that took place on July 29 – August 2 in Chicago. With a sponsorship from Chicago-based global quantitative trading firm Teza, After-School All-Stars hosted 40 students from the Chicago area at the Illinois Institute of Technology for an immersive middle- to high-school transition program designed for students to experience and explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.

Teza CEO Misha Malyshev said, “CampUs, including the students’ visit to our Teza offices, far exceeded my highest hopes and at the end of the camp, my only disappointment was that it was over. Needless to say, we at Teza plan to sponsor CampUs Chicago next year.” Read More.