When it comes to science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) careers, it seems there is an unwritten rule that says STEM only welcomes men. Statistics show that from STEM graduates, only 25% are women. Colleges and universities are now working towards making women feel more welcomed in STEM curriculum.
Higher-education institutions are using outreach and mentoring programs to make women feel at ease while pursuing their STEM degrees in a man-driven world.
"We're really trying to build that community so if they are the only woman in a class or on a project team they don't feel like the only one," Tricia Berry, director of UT—Austin's Women in Engineering program told U.S. News.
Colleges are now building communities to welcome female STEM students into their institutions and help them feel more at home. They are beginning to pair up incoming female students with more experienced female engineering students in residence halls. This mentoring program allows freshman females to have role models that guide them through their college experiences.
Programs such as these helped Kaitlyn Bunker overlook the gender gap at Michigan Technological University.
"It was really cool because I would go to class and look around and see maybe one or two other women, then go home and my area was all women, so I didn't notice so much," Bunker told U.S. News.
Another thing that universities are doing is making female role models available to incoming freshmen. Having on-campus organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers allows young female students to look up to other successful woman who have made it in the field. The women within these organizations serve as inspiration as well as guidance to the fresh young minds.