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Chicago Program Gets Girls Revved Up for STEM Careers | Latino Voices | Chicago News

Chicago Program Gets Girls Revved Up for STEM Careers | Latino Voices | Chicago News
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For many years, educators have been encouraging children to explore STEM fields – that is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Despite making up about half of the US workforce, women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM occupations – only 27% according to the most recent US Census numbers.

Local nonprofit Girls 4 Science wants to offer Chicago’s girls a roadmap to achievement in STEM.

“Girls 4 Science was started out of a need,” said Jackie Lomax, who founded the program when her daughter expressed interest in STEM subjects but could not find any enrichment programs nearby. “I live on the south side of Chicago and for many, many years it’s felt like a STEM desert. There’s been high interest but lack of opportunities.”

Girls 4 Science is offering a free six-week program called Saturday STEM Academy for girls age 10 to 18. The program, which begins in April, will study the science of automobiles.

“We’re so proud this spring to offer the science of cars, working with a local training facility, Fast Lane Training Center on the west side of Chicago,” said Lomax. We’ll be introduced to: How does the car work? What is the function of having oil in your engine? What do those check engine light indicators really mean? And how can you maintain your car from one season to another?”

Lomax said the scarcity of women working in the automotive industry makes this spring’s program especially exciting.

“These topics are so relevant because women only make up 8% of the professions in the automotive industry,” Lomax said. “For girls between the ages of 10 through 18 to walk into a City College of Chicago or on a university campus and to be partnered with current college students or women of color in all areas of profession from chemistry, medical science, robotics — it really does help to reverse the stigma. So it is a great energy, the spirit of the woman, right? We move mountains!”

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