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Breaking Biases. Parents, Teachers, and Communities Play Major Roles

Teachers and parents play a critical role in shaping young girls' educational and career paths. Unfortunately, many girls interested in math, chemistry, and physics are discouraged from pursuing those fields due to societal stereotypes and biases. That's why teachers and parents need to encourage and support girls interested in STEM fields.

Positive reinforcement and mentorship can go a long way in empowering young girls to follow their passions. Teachers who believe in their female students' abilities and offer resources and support can inspire them to pursue their interests, even in adversity. Similarly, parents encouraging their daughters to pursue STEM can help them overcome societal stereotypes and biases.

This was the case with Ms. Lucy. When I asked Ms. Lucy about who paved the way for you? Was there someone, like a role model, that you saw, something that impacted you and caused you to pursue stem degrees like I want to do physics? I want to do mathematics?" "Was there someone who influenced you?"

She said, "Yes, sort of like 50-50, I guess." She continued, "When I was, how old was I? I think I was 11. I was in fifth grade in a school in the heart of Georgia. Ms. Willa teaches us at Glenwood. She was the most amazing teacher."

"The way she approached math and sciences with us, she went the extra mile to ensure we got what we were learning. We retained all our knowledge. We had fun while we were learning. I don't remember doing tests or failing at anything."

"I just remember passing, but I don't remember how I passed. I knew I was getting better and better, and I enjoyed math, and that changed my aspect of how I'd want the next generation to approach sciences and math. I'd like it to be more curiosity and interesting than testing your knowledge on a specific subject."

"But aside from that, my dad has the biggest one yet. Cause he supports me in all my ventures. He paid for my, um, university education. He does everything for me. He supports me even when it feels like I'm failing."

"I know he's got my back. So yes, he has to be my biggest. He taught me that sometimes when you discover your passion, it's important to chase your passion instead of the money. Mm-hmm. So, pursuing what you also love and what makes you feel whole is more important than anything."

"I guess those are the two major ones. Well, well, well, shout out to both your former teacher and your father."

Teachers and parents have a critical role in encouraging and supporting girls interested in math and physics. By providing mentorship and resources, they can empower young women to follow their passions and make a difference in the world.

Girls who pursue degrees in math and physics can have a profound impact on the world. They can contribute to solving some of the most significant challenges facing humanity, from climate change to healthcare. They can also break down barriers for other women in STEM fields, inspiring a new generation of female scientists and innovators.

Lucy's quote, "The remarkable thing about science is that you learn when you fail," highlights one of the scientific process's core tenets: failure's importance in learning and discovery. In scientific research, failure is not seen as a setback but rather as an opportunity for learning and growth.

Science is built on a process of trial and error. Scientists formulate hypotheses, design experiments to test those hypotheses, and then analyze the results to draw conclusions. However, experiments only sometimes produce the expected results, and hypotheses are often proven wrong. Rather than being discouraged by these failures, scientists and now Lucy view them as opportunities to refine their assumptions and experiments and gain a deeper understanding of the underlying phenomena.

One of the most famous examples of learning from failure in science is the story of Thomas Edison and the light bulb. Edison famously tried thousands of different materials before he found the right filament to create a long-lasting, practical light bulb. When asked about his failures, Edison famously replied, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

The scientific process is founded on the principle of learning from failure. Lucy embraced failure as an opportunity for growth and learning. She has been able to challenge and push the boundaries of her knowledge through curiosity and make remarkable discoveries. Now her community is benefiting through her after-school mentoring program.

Historically, the STEM field have been dominated by men, and women have often faced discrimination and bias when pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Furthermore, the road to success for women in STEM education has been challenging. Women often face discrimination, bias, and other obstacles that their male counterparts do not.

That's why it's essential to have supportive mentors and communities that can provide encouragement and resources to help these women succeed.

By majoring in physics, chemistry, and mathematics, Lucy demonstrated a passion for these STEM subjects and a willingness to work hard to succeed. Women who major in the STEM disciplines have the potential to make significant contributions to their fields. They can help to develop new technologies, solve complex problems, and make important discoveries that benefit society. They can also be role models for other girls and women interested in STEM.

The remarkable thing about girls like Lucy, who majors in physics, chemistry, and mathematics, is that they can utilize their knowledge of the scientific process to break down stereotypes and push the boundaries of what is possible for women in STEM fields. Now she serves as a role model for other girls and young women who may have been discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM fields.

Lucy said, "I started to fall in love with physics, chemistry, and mathematics. So, I ended up doing, uh, majoring in math and physics and getting a minor in chemistry. Wow. And that was the beginning of science and math in terms of engineering. Wow. And then I did an internship that made me fall in love with STEM education."

In conclusion, the remarkable thing about a girl who majors in STEM degrees is that they can break down barriers and challenge stereotypes in the STEM fields. By pursuing her passions and working hard to succeed, Lucy has significantly impacted her community and field and inspired future generations of women to do the same.

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think STEM Careers! You Have The Opportunity to Create The Future And The Privilege Of Deciding What’s In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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