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.