Women in Science inspire #Steminism

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TCU’s Women in Science (WISE) club is working to foster a spirit of intrigue in young women interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Since the club’s launch in 2014, it has been almost exclusively female, but the organization is opening their doors to people of all genders that want to see the best for women in science and STEM fields.

The club was established after many female students felt a lack of representation in science and STEM programs on and off campus. Hashtags like #GirlsCanCode, #WomenInSTEM and #Steminist took over online and publicized that many other women felt underrepresented as well.

“There is a lack of representation of women in STEM,” said Christine Pho, junior physics and pre-medicine major. “Young girls have to be encouraged to pursue these careers. They have to know they are competent and intelligent.”

WISE is encouraging women to join science and STEM fields as soon as possible.

WISE’s president, Lindsey Elliot wants people to know on TCU’s campus, there will always be a place on campus for nerdy women.

“We are here to unite women from all areas of science and STEM,” said Elliot. “We want a diverse campus. We want to be a diverse community that fosters innovation and creative outlets for women.”

Pho said unlike other girls, she was pushed to pursue STEM at a young age.

“I had a really fiery seventh-grade math teacher and he immediately noticed my aptitude for math,” said Pho. “He really encouraged me to join the math team and the science club and that’s where I was able to find my passion.”

As of 2009, women only accounted for 24 percent of careers in STEM, according to research from the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

The women of WISE want to change that statistic and to inspire women of all ages to get involved with STEM.

“We’re always trying to grow and improve STEM careers for women,” said Pho.

Pho said she also believes TCU does a better job of encouraging women in STEM than other universities and is thankful for her experience here.

“I think for a small school we have a really rigorous STEM curriculum,” said Pho. “People think that when they go to college their degree is the only thing they can pursue. The teachers at TCU really want you to do more than what you learn in the classroom.”