Keeping Stem and Steam Efforts Alive Virtually

How one group of young girls used Tinkercad for an incredible lesson

By Judy Nguyen – Women have made great gains in STEM careers in the last 50 years. In 1970, the US Census Bureau reported that women made up 38% of the US workforce and held 8% of STEM jobs. As of 2019, women make up almost half the American workforce and hold 27% of STEM occupations. Yet, despite these notable gains, men still dominate the field and make up 73% of all STEM workers. According to the American Association of University Women, “Giving women equal opportunities to pursue — and thrive in — STEM careers helps narrow the gender pay gap, enhances women’s economic security, ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce and prevents biases in these fields and the products and services they produce.” Not only do women benefit from pursuing STEM careers, but the industry improves with more women.

For educators, keeping girls interested in STEM/STEAM beyond middle school has been a particular challenge, especially during the pandemic when schools and after-school programs transitioned to virtual and remote learning. For example, the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) holds an annual event for middle school girls called Cyber SB to help expand girls’ interest in cybersecurity careers.

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