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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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UB students speak to local high schoolers about being women in STEM

The women discussed the challenges they faced and gave advice to Amherst Central High School students

<p>In honor of Women’s History Month, members of UB’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) club visited Amherst Central High School to share their experiences of being women in male-dominated fields.&nbsp;</p>

In honor of Women’s History Month, members of UB’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) club visited Amherst Central High School to share their experiences of being women in male-dominated fields. 

When freshman Kayleigh Reed was in high school, she was told “by no means” should she go to school for science.

Reed studied English at UB, but after entering the workforce, she realized that English was not the field for her. She later returned to school to study science.

Reed is not alone. Whether it be due to lack of support, resources or mistreatment by others, many women in STEM face unique challenges and obstacles — and have for generations.

In honor of Women’s History Month, members of UB’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) club visited Amherst Central High School to share their experiences as women in male-dominated fields. They discussed the challenges they faced, how they overcame them, the importance of diversity in STEM and what they wished they’d known as young women entering STEM.

While WISE has been at UB for 10 years, many other schools and universities are just beginning to found similar programs for women studying STEM. As the amount of women in STEM increases, the need for these programs grows.

“If everybody looks like you, everybody is going to think the same, Teagan Allart, a senior chemical engineering major, said at the event. “By building a diverse environment in STEM, research will reflect a variety of experiences, because everyone has different backgrounds to bring to the table.” 

WISE members shared stories about family and friends who were unsupportive of their studies, educators who failed to provide equal opportunities for male and female students, and peers who did not treat them with respect.  Despite the challenges, these women have persevered. 

“I’ve kind of overcome my fear of men, just by dealing with them on a day to day basis, you get better at it,” Allart said.

Julia Victor, a doctoral student studying biomedical engineering, encouraged Amherst students to be confident and care for themselves.

“You belong at this table just as much as anyone else does,” she said. 

Victor said she wants to see an increase in diversity in STEM, a kinder environment and more collaboration, as opposed to the competitive atmosphere in most STEM fields.  

WISE has served as a resource for its members to find community and support and bring awareness to the disparity women face in STEM fields. 

“When you walk in, you find that community immediately, and you have those resources to meet new people,”  Allart said.  

The features desk can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com  


EMMA MENDOLA

Emma Mendola is a student at Amherst Central High School and a high school intern at The Spectrum

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