MIT Students Share the Importance of Women in STEM

Students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spent part of their Independent Activities Period in Dayton, Ohio, talking to younger girls in Catholic schools about the opportunities they could have in a STEM career. The MIT students, Emma Kerwin and Adedoyin Olateru-Olagbegi, came to CJ on January 9 to talk about the MIT Women’s Initiative as part of the CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

“I went to a school that had a STEM magnet program, so I was exposed to STEM early on,” Olateru-Olagbegi said. “I saw there was a gap between men and women in STEM and that it needed to be closed.” 

The MIT Women’s Initiative aims at sharing information about STEM opportunities for women, gives students the opportunity to do a hands-on activity, and ultimately, reinforces that women are needed in STEM fields. MIT students who participate in the Women’s Initiative reach approximately 6,000 middle and high school girls in four weeks, according to the MIT website.

“We want to show that there are a lot of ways to get involved in STEM,” Kerwin emphasized. “There are many different ways to do it and you don’t have to be comfortable in every STEM subject to have a STEM career.”

During their CJ presentation, Kerwin and Olateru-Olagbegi shared what they have experienced so far at MIT, went through different STEM careers the younger students could pursue after graduation, and did a coding activity. Throughout their week in Dayton, Kerwin and Olateru-Olagbegi gave their presentation 15 times, to a total of 313 students, and visited eight different schools.

“The structure of the presentations are different depending on the size of groups and the students’ grade levels,” Kerwin noted.

The MIT students joined CJ students at two different schools on January 11 for Little Sibs. CJ STEMM Coordinator, Meg Draeger, contacted the Dayton Metro Library to borrow STEM kits for the students to play with during Little Sibs.

“It’s amazing, especially the Dayton Metro Library, that they have the maker spaces and the maker kits,” Draeger shared. “I love libraries, and they’re a wonderful resource; I don’t think people use them enough. People may say that they don’t read books, but now libraries are more like community spaces and they’re more than about books these days.”

Along with sharing the opportunities for women in STEM, Kerwin and Olateru-Olagbegi said they enjoyed their time in Dayton and the opportunity to visit a new city.

Posted January 25, 2018