image courtesy of Elannore Bester
While enrolled in a computer science course at EHS, senior Elaine Wei realized that she was only one of three women in her class.
This number motivated Wei to look into the gender gap within STEM fields, and her findings inspired Wei to take action. The belief that inequality in jobs, pay, and opportunities exists between men and women is known as the gender gap.
“…I thought of a project that would not try to equalize the genders in STEM fields, but to guide females through male-dominated fields in STEM,” Wei said.
Wei created Women in Stem Educate (W.i.S.E), a nonprofit website, using the online website builder Wix, which can be located at https://wiseofficial.wixsite.com/nonprofit. The site aims to interview women within the STEM field to educate and inspire young women to pursue careers in those fields, but she needed help to achieve this goal.
“After brainstorming the mission of my project, I started gathering members that might be interested in such a project, and we were able to pitch in ideas that transformed into W.i.S.E,” Wei said.
Senior Paola Arana is one of the nine girls who Wei asked to help manage the website.
“We each have different roles,” Arana said. “Personally I handle outreach and promotion through social media, and the others handle projects such as blogs, interviews, and website updates.”
When Wei asked senior Linnea Turner, who would like to pursue an environmental science or ecology degree in college, if she would participate in the website, she happily agreed.
“As a woman who hopes to go into a STEM career, I was excited to be a part of it,” Turner said.
According to Turner, her role as a blogger for the website entails that she develop and edit articles from the interviews of the STEM women. She works closely with senior Madison Lein who deals with the interviewing process.
“I help seek out prominent women to interview, conduct the interviews themselves, and participate in the podcasts,” Lein said.
So far they have created one podcast, and they have more to come: Lein is scheduled to interview Dr. Noelle Cutter, a molecular biologist the week of Sept. 7.
Deciding on content is something the ten ladies of W.i.S.E do together.
“We have a meeting once a week via Zoom and spend part of it discussing the objectives of the group as a whole and part of it on our own breakout groups based on what we’re working on [such as] website and social media, podcasts, or interviews,” Lein said.
Whether she is a founder, social media promoter, blogger, or interviewer, the group works together to create new content as they aim to inspire young women.
“We hope to teach people about the gender gap and inequality in STEM today, but more importantly we want to inspire young women to pursue a career in STEM despite inequalities and setbacks,” Arana said. “Our website offers blogs, interviews, and podcasts that cover first-hand experiences from women in STEM and the strides females in these fields are making, and we hope viewers will gain insight and support our message.”