The Effect of the Underrepresentation of Women in STEM Fields

Kelsey Decker

By Daniel Xiang, North Star Staffer

Video: Since the beginning, STEM fields have had a large underrepresentation of women and this underrepresentation continues into today. When considering STEM fields most people automatically think of men being in those fields which is a stigma that women are trying to break. Women are trying to beat the odds, push new programs that will make women more open to considering the STEM field and showing men that women belong in the field.

FHN’s chapter of the Technology Student Association is preparing for the Boeing Final Flight competition and the VEX Robotics competition. The Final Flight competition will take place in the beginning of May, and the first VEX competition will be Dec. 9 at Troy; currently they are in the planning stages of the VEX competition, brainstorming ideas for their robot.

In the VEX competition, teams create and program a robot which they place on a game field filled with cones for the robots to interact with. The robots are programmed to place the cones on goals to earn points without a human steering, with an additional period where humans are allowed to directly steer the robot.

“I joined TSA because I’ve always been fascinated with building things and programming things and learning how things work,” senior Caitlind Walker, president of TSA, said. “I like that we get the chance to actually work on real-world engineering sort of issues.”

TSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving middle and high school students experience in STEM fields, giving them a chance to apply their abilities and learn leadership skills. The chapters are student led; Michael Green, the club’s sponsor, takes an advising role while the members decide what to do. For example, the FHN chapter is currently working with Vegetarian Club to make an automatic watering system for their plants. TSA chapters can also participate in competitions, where each chapter can use their skills to compete with each other on how best they can achieve a certain goal, such as making a glider fly the furthest or programming a robot to move objects without steering.

“The students get excited about it, and if you get excited about it, and it’s fun, it’s like an ideal situation,” Green said. “If something’s fun, it doesn’t seem like work; it’s play. It’s structured play at that point.” (Brief by Daniel Xiang)