Teza Technologies

HOW WE CAN SUPPORT WOMEN IN STEM

Women’s roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have been making headlines lately, and it isn’t all bad news. From the focus on women’s roles in the tech sector at the White House’s recent United States of Women Summit to more and more groups focused on driving greater participation of women in STEM, it’s exciting to see all the work being done to support women in these fields. Despite these moves in the right direction, we’re still a long way from closing the gender gap in STEM. At some leading tech companies, only 10 percent of women occupy tech jobs. Furthermore, a recent study found that only 11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering were awarded to minority women. The numbers are clear – there’s still work to be done.

Initiate a Love of STEM 

First things first. When it comes to STEM education, it’s important to start early. Pages upon pages have been devoted to the barriers to STEM education in the United States. Nine out of 10 schools don’t offer computer programming, and only 37 percent of students enjoy their science class. These issues need to be addressed, but there are also resources for parents interested in inspiring their daughters to explore STEM. In fact, 68 percent of teen girls interested in STEM say their fathers played a key role in encouraging them. From building things with your daughter to encouraging her to play with toys that will spark her interest in science and engineering, parents are on the front lines when it comes to early STEM education.

Create Workplace Opportunities

Despite the fact that research shows tech companies excel with women leaders, a recent survey found that at the top U.S. tech companies only 18 percent of women hold leadership positions. Something has to change – it’s time for men to get serious about encouraging equality in tech. Men in STEM industries can start by helping women network, assisting women in their job searches by sharing contacts and, most importantly, speaking up on behalf of women in the workplace.

Convene as Leaders

Finally, we need to take a step back and think about broader systematic issues barring women’s entry into STEM education and professions. At the White House’s recent United States of Women Summit, Mary Wilson Arrasmith, a high school instructional strategist coordinating technical education, commented, “Create an army of folks around you–counselors, teachers–celebrate those different activities and events. It’s important your leadership be fully engaged in the message of equity.” Meetings like this, which bring together leaders in education, business and government, are a critical piece of the puzzle as we all work together to bridge the gender gap in STEM.

 

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At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and employees have been working closely with organizations that are working to inspire girls and boys alike to develop an interest in STEM from an early age. Through support of organizations such as buildOn, Adler Planetarium and After-School All-Stars, and our involvement with key programs such as Girls do Hack, the Noble Stem Expo, Hour of Code and Junior Research Scientists, we’re hoping to inspire the next generation of engineers and coders.

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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.

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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.

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.

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 Technologies Employees Partner with Kids from After-School All-Stars of New York for a Cooking Challenge

On Thursday, April 7th, Teza Technologies employees spent their afternoon volunteering with students from the After-School All-Stars of New York Chapter. They participated in a special cooking competition creating healthy meals and conducted a blind taste test to determine the best dish. The winner was a crepe filled with Nutella, blueberries and strawberries.

Teza Technologies employees teamed up with students from After-School All-Stars for a cooking competition

This is one of the many programs that Teza Technologies and After-School All-Stars (ASAS) have partnered on. For the past three years, the firm has funded After-School All-Stars CampUs Chicago, a college-preparation and STEM summer training program. Through CampUs, students have had the opportunity to visit Microsoft, Teza Technologies and the McCormick Foundation and experience STEM through hands-on projects, such as learning computer coding, building their own websites and developing apps and business plans.

Recognizing the desire for ASAS employees to expand their network and learn more tactical approaches to after-school success, Teza Technologies sponsored a TEDx-style retreat in Washington, D.C. in 2014. Twenty of the organization’s program directors were able to attend and learn about operations, stakeholder engagement, opportunities for collaboration and more.

In 2015, CEO and founder of Teza, Misha Malyshev, donated $300,000 to ASAS to support its STEM programs. Misha has also served as an ASAS National Board Member since 2014.

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.

 

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