It can be daunting to imagine the future if you’re a girl pursuing a career in a field where there are few, if any, other women to look up to as role models and mentors. STEAM fields are no exception.
“I was the only woman in my lab in a lot of different circumstances,” says Emily Adams, regional science coordination lead for NASA SERVIR’s Eastern Southern Africa hub. “It was my job to clean, always. Even something small like that can be really detrimental to a woman’s career: cleaning takes away from my studies, takes away from my research, et cetera. It can build up.”
But recent studies show that having female mentors —and more female peers — can help women avoid those potential pitfalls and keep them on a STEAM career path. According to The Atlantic, one study “showed that female engineering undergraduates who are paired with a female mentor felt more motivated, more self-assured, and less anxious than those who had either no mentor or a male one. They were less likely to drop out of their courses, and keener to look for engineering jobs after they graduated.”
Creating those mentorship opportunities was one of the many goals of the 2018 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp, where professionals like Adams from NASA SERVIR, Google, and Intel taught an intensive STEAM curriculum each day and then offered career advice during nightly Mentor Hours.
Listen to some of the advice mentors provided campers below and find out how that advice inspired WiSci campers: