Ask Rhonda: Celebrating International Women's Month by Supporting STEM Education

March 8 - Rhonda Vetere

On this March 8, everyone around the globe is celebrating International Women’s Day to commemorate some of the accomplishments and contributions of women around the world. Nevertheless, it is also a reminder that we should encourage women to go into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM.

There are presently more jobs in STEM than in any other sectors. In fact, according to the National Council for Women and Information Technology, there will be at least 1.4 million technology job openings anticipated in the United States by 2020. Picking a career or a major is a lifelong process of identifying what we truly enjoy doing. And much of what people enjoy is identified early by outside forces such as parents, teachers, and even the general expectations of the society.

There need to be more STEM advocates out there that will instill bone-deep confidence, inspiration, and provide insight and advice for youth. And International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for that.

STEM advocacy and mentoring is a huge passion of mine. I like to motivate folks and let them know that you have to put in hard work to get results. Because I have spent most of my career as a woman in a male dominated field, I haven’t thought much about that, however, I have tried to lead by example for others.

Some lessons that I arm individuals that I mentor include:

Be confident. Be bold. Be Authentic. Do not be afraid of hard work; that is where growth occurs. Step outside your comfort zone. You can be anything you want to be.

Pull from your strengths and shine.

No matter what challenges you face, no matter how messy things get, you can work your way through them and things will be better on the other side.

Perhaps one day, many of the young girls we guided will grow to write computer programs, cure illnesses, and innovate technology advancements to ultimately change the world for the better.

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day and lift each other up.

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