Women's College: Hidden STEM Gem

Jan. 1, 2000

The question: "How do we encourage more women to into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM ) careers?" lingerers in the minds of educator, employee and even the president.

The question: “How do we encourage more women into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM ) careers?” lingerers in the minds of educators, employees and even the president. Institutions have stepped up in a variety of ways to improve class curriculum by restructuring lesson plans and activities. But Diane Propsner, women's college advocate and contributor to Huffington Post's Girls in STEM blog, says women's colleges have been taking steps long before today's hype to help excel women in STEM-fields.

For more than 100 years, women's colleges have continued to add STEM to its programs. Today, high school girls interested in STEM are discovering these supportive, nurturing, focused, research-based environments.

Christine Hamilton, a first-year student at Smith College, says: “Smith College is unique because it is an all-women's liberal arts school that also has an engineering major. I had several reasons for choosing SmithCollege. One was the STRIDE program, which allows freshmen and sophomores to work on a research project with a professor as part of a work-study program. Getting to work on research for my first two years at college is a unique opportunity," she adds. "I also think that attending an all-women's college in itself is a unique opportunity."

Bayley Lawrence, graduating in 2014, and Delor Sander, graduating in 2013 joined "a group of freshwater ecologists from the Biology department at St.Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN, traveling to Iceland this summer to study the effect of temperature on nitrogen fixation rates in geothermally active streams in the Hengill region of Iceland. We are collaborating with a group of scientists from the U.S. and Iceland in our research," they explain.

With a career goal of becoming a physician, Sue Turjman, an incoming first-year student at Mount St. Mary's College, says she looks forward to attending a women's college because of the mentorships. "I know that my professors will push me to my greatest ability, and it won't matter that I'm a woman wanting a male-dominated profession," she says. "The Mount will give me an edge. I hope that going to a women's college will even boost my grades without the little distractions."

Courtney Stevens, an incoming first-year animal science major at Rutgers University, Douglass Residential College, wants to be a veterinarian. "Majoring in math, science or engineering takes a lot of studying, focus and a good support system and the women of Douglass provide that. That is why I knew that Douglass was the perfect choice for me," she says.

To see more testimonials from young women involved in STEM, read the full blog post "Why First-Year STEM Girls Attend Women's Colleges," from the Huffington Post.