Did you know that less than 6.7% of women in the US and 16% globally graduate with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees? Does this statistic surprise you? Unfortunately, the lack of females in STEM careers is not a new phenomenon. Women occupy less than 24% of STEM jobs worldwide, with less than 9% in engineering or physics, the most male-dominated science fields. Removing a female perspective from STEM eliminates 50% of our world’s greatest minds and innovators in the process. It is imperative that women are not just allowed, but encouraged, to contribute to scientific discovery.
Our goal is to combat the gender gap in STEM fields by cultivating a passion for science starting in the middle school years.
We believe that starting STEM outreach for middle school girls will help to prepare them for science opportunities in high school and encourage a passion for STEM that they will carry through to higher education. Our focus is centered around collaborating with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) to organize monthly science workshops for local middle school girls in Santa Cruz County. During these workshops, students will take part in: hands-on lab activities, lab tours of UC Santa Cruz facilities, and panel sessions with local women scientists and professionals.If you are interested in learning more about SIS, feel free to contact us!
Megan is a rising senior at Scotts Valley High School with an immense passion for science. She is grateful for the opportunities she has had to participate in research through summer internships and hopes to guide and inspire more girls to do the same. During her sophomore year, Megan interned in the UC Santa Cruz Earth and Marine Sciences Department and Richmond Field Station at UC Berkeley where she explored grain transport under low flow conditions in rivers. Her work was recently published at the American Geophysical Fall Meeting Poster Session in San Francisco last December. Currently Megan is interning at the UCSC Genomics Institute identifying genetic mutations associated with Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and Type II Diabetes. Her research will be presented at the Northern California Computational Biology Symposium in the fall and will be submitted to the Oxford Journal of Human and Molecular Genetics. As a result of being selected as one of the 100 recipients nationwide for the Emperor Science Award, Megan is also working virtually with Professor Joe Ramos at the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center to analyze possible inhibitors of the NF-kappaB protein, which promotes tumor growth in lung cancer cells (mesothelioma). Megan also sits on the editorial board and the publicity team for the International Youth Neuroscience Association and reads and edits articles about the brain with up-to-date science and medical content.
Pauline is currently a fifth-year PhD student in Dr. Barry Sinervo’s Lab at UC Santa Cruz in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department broadly studying the adaptive potential of lizards in the face of climate change as well as investigating the connection between color and parasite load in lizards.
She is also the President of WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) at UCSC. Pauline helps organize events at local K-12 schools to bring science activities into the classroom while also organizing a multitude of other events for both campus and the local community. For more information about this organization please visit: http://wiseucsc.wixsite.com/wise
Caroline Park is an undergraduate student at UCSC studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental (MCD) Biology. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in June of 2018 and will apply to graduate school later that year. From a very young age, Caroline has always been interested in science and knew it was the path she would ultimately pursue. She is a member of the UCSC chapter of WiSE and hopes to bring science to the community in a meaningful way. Getting young women involved in science is one of her main goals with SIS. Caroline has traveled to Peru on several occasions to volunteer with Acate Amazon, a restoration organization whose goal is to preserve the culture of indigenous peoples while providing regenerative alternatives to ecologically and socially damaging industries like petroleum, timber, and biopiracy. She also volunteers with a local bio ethanol fuel company, Blume Distillation, who hope to bring their biorefineries to small communities as a means of waste disposal and a sustainable fuel alternative.
Anna Johnston is a 2nd year PhD student in Dr. Alexander Ayzner's Lab at UC Santa Cruz in the chemistry and biochemistry department. Taking its inspiration from the process of photosynthesis, the Ayzner Lab studies the electronic processes of organic semiconductors for applications in organic photovoltaic (aka solar cell) devices.
Anna joined WISE in 2017 as an outreach officer and has played an active role in helping start the SIS program. She is excited to be involved in a program which unites professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and the community under the common goal of inspiring young women to pursue their interest in STEM related disciplines.