In 2019, the United States Census showed that 27% of workers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field are female. This is an increase from past years, but still a shockingly low number. Many programs have sought to bring women into the field, and one such program is SheTech.
Sariah Shoemaker, a junior at Juab High School and a member of the student board, describes SheTech as “a program for high school girls that is to help them get involved in STEM and to learn more about it. [SheTech gives girls] opportunities to meet role models and women in STEM, because a lot of times you don’t really see that as much, [since] it’s a very male dominated field. Part of what SheTech wants to do is they want to introduce women to role models they can look up to and help them build connections for when they have connections in the future.”
Both Sariah and I both had the opportunity to attend SheTech the last time they held an in-person summit, in 2019. In one of the massive rooms dozens of businesses had displays. There was virtual reality at one, and a hologram at another. There was also a Tesla parked in the middle that we could sit in and try out all the features.
Sariah says this was her favorite part of SheTech. “It was cool to see all the different possibilities that there are in that field,” she says.
For the in person summits, each student had the choice of two workshops out of the dozens offered. There were workshops on animating, gene study, the STEM behind sports, and even one on how to care for animals at the Living Aquarium.
Sariah says, “You don’t just talk about computers, you also talk about other science fields. There’s activities with olympians, I know that’s one they did this year. It applies to different things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be technology.”
Many girls at SheTech are interested in the science part of STEM, including myself. Sariah would like to design video games, which she says is a good combination of things she likes to do.
Sariah loves SheTech because it is a way to meet people who are so different from each other, but have similar interests. She also loves meeting professionals in fields she is interested in.
This year’s summit was very different from previous years, but it was still a success. “One of the things they did that worked really well with Zoom was they have these things called 3×3 events. I feel like these would actually work better online than they would in person, because you have a bunch of girls join the meeting, and then you have women who are in various fields. They basically put you into breakout rooms with a list of questions, and then it’s led by the mentor and then the girls speak in. It’s a good opportunity to talk to a bunch of people.”
Though it was a little different, this year’s summit was a success. Alongside the summits, SheTech offers year round mentoring and activities. Make sure to check out the official website: https://shetechexplorer.com/