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While job market demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) talent continues to grow, the number of women and minorities employed in the STEM fields remains small, with Change the Equation estimating that women hold just 28% of STEM positions in the U.S. Women of color fare even worse in the STEM workforce, holding fewer than 20% of STEM jobs. Booz Allen Hamilton’s STEM Girls 4 Social Good (SG4SG) aims to bridge the talent gap in these growing fields by inviting young women to learn STEM concepts while exploring social good problems.
This summer, 50 middle and high school aged girls from Washington, D.C. joined Booz Allen Hamilton employees and the firm’s Summer Games Interns to learn about Food Deserts, areas where access to affordable, healthy food options is limited or nonexistent. Using STEM disciplines, participants learned to identify zip codes that contain food deserts, understand viable options to combat food deserts on a macro scale, and help those who live in a food desert to identify and gain access to healthier food options.
Over the course of the weeklong program, participants were exposed to the full lifecycle of problem solving—from deconstructing the problem of food deserts to designing and building a solution—miniature urban aquapods to grow fresh kale, arugula and basil. Along the way girls learned basic electrical engineering and circuitry, geographic information systems, and plant science.
“.@BoozAllen’s #STEM Girls 4 Social Good Tackle #Food Deserts http://bit.ly/2aGlYaR #SG4SG”
Booz Allen female leaders joined participants as ‘SHE-E-Os of the Day,’ sharing their STEM career experiences and providing an overview of the possibilities for a future in STEM. Booz Allen Principal Dr. Velma Deleveaux shared her STEM journey with the girls, saying, “I want you to know and believe that you are the future rocket scientist, engineer, biologist.”
Booz Allen Hamilton’s Cheryl Wade, Head of Diversity & Inclusion and co-creator of SG4SG, described the SG4SG, saying, “This innovative initiative, now in its second year, is designed as a cascading mentorship model with a long tail to attract more girls and retain more women in STEM. Booz Allen STEM professionals lead and mentor groups of interns who in turn lead and mentor middle and high school girls from the Girls Inc. DC STEM + Leadership Academy for Girls and Walker Jones Education Campus.”
Booz Allen Millennial Project Program Manager and SG4SG co-creator Alexé Weymouth added, “It is imperative for the U.S. economy that the next wave of STEM professionals not only have mentors ahead of them but that they continue to encourage the talent pipeline coming up behind them. We want these girls and women to know that their unique perspective as women is needed across the STEM fields and that Booz Allen is one place where their ideas and experience are valued.”
To see photos from SG4SG 2016, click here.
To learn more about Booz Allen’s commitment to STEM, visit: http://www.boozallen.com/insights/better-our-world/our-commitment-to-stem