D51 wants more girls in STEM

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- We are used to hearing names like Einstein, Edison, and Jobs in fields like math and science, but they all share one thing; they are all men.

"Women in STEM fields have been low for years, and years and years," said Mesa After School STEM Coordinator, Heidi Ragsdale.

She thinks STEM programs need more female minds.

"Female thinking has a place at the table in STEM, and that creativity that the female brain brings, has to be apart of all the things that we do within STEM fields," Ragsdale said.

Historically, males take up most of the space.

"It's a growing field everywhere in the world right now, and its something that tends to have more men than women in the career field," said D51 Public Information Officer, Emily Shockley.

In 2016, women made up 18 percent of computer science bachelor degrees earned. And teachers want that to change.

"Teachers have that perspective that they can push those girls into those careers that, maybe they would not have chosen on their own," Ragsdale said.

The Girls in STEM conference on April 14 will let female students in D51 show why girls rule, and boys drool.

"We are hoping that they will feel empowered to share that robotics, makerspace, inquiry-based, problem based learning with their own schools in whatever way they chose," Ragsdale said.

And this isn't just some middle school fad.

"Computer science is something that is needed in every single field now, so its very important to put that in the classroom, and have kids doing it," Shockley said.

Some teachers know firsthand the power of opportunity.

"I had the opportunity when I was twelve years old to go to a STEM camp, and I know that is why I am a STEM teacher now," Ragsdale said.

And those that teach, see the need for a new, educated generation.

"We are seeing the need that those jobs are not being able to be filled by companies all around the world, and so now we have to think about how we are going to train our next generation to do that," Ragsdale said.

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