Last week marked the fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In 2015, the United Nations established a resolution to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of women in the sciences. The resolution also has the additional goal of encouraging the next generation of young women to pursue and solve new scientific challenges.
There are many worldwide and US-based initiatives designed to create gender equality in the sciences (as well as in all STEM fields). The United Nations estimates that “less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.” The celebration is jointly coordinated between the UN-Women and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in collaboration with many institutional and civil organization partners.
Within the Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science disciplines, there are many female students entering these fields. In the US, many programs have been actively working to increase their female student enrollment in STEM degree programs. (I still need to confirm some examples, rewrite). We reached out to a couple of young women about their decisions to enter a STEM career.
At the University of Louisville, Kate Schneidau, a Mechanical Engineering Student and Engineering Co-op/Intern at RPC and AMCC, shared how she decided on a career in additive manufacturing:
“I grew up surrounded by STEM. I am a 3rd generation engineer and have known since I was young that this is the career path I wanted to take. My interest in additive manufacturing (AM) came after an opportunity arose for a cooperative intern position at the Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) at the University of Louisville. Through my work there and now at the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center I have found a passion for AM. I am excited to work in collaboration with other engineers to engage in discussion on how to implement and expand the knowledge base of AM. As a senior engineering student looking at full-time positions I am only looking at positions that allow me to engage directly with AM in industry and expand upon my knowledge.”
“I always loved making and building things, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that “Engineering” was introduced to me. I loved science and math, and my high school teacher pulled me aside after class one day and asked if I ever looked into engineering. At that point in my life, I didn’t know much about engineering and thought that it was a dirty job that only men did. I discovered this was not the case, as there were a vast number of engineering fields. I decided to go into industrial and systems engineering and never looked back. I fell in love with manufacturing, the concept that everything we touch and see on a daily basis has been through a manufacturing facility. This then led me to discover additive manufacturing and America Makes, the national additive manufacturing innovation institute located in Youngstown, Ohio a short distance from the college I was attending. I instantly developed a passion towards this technology which led to teaching students and teachers about the technology, conducting a master’s thesis focused on AM and going on to have a career in AM. The possibilities for the younger generation are endless. These new technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution provide a cleaner manufacturing environment and an exciting future.”
The fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an important, but growing part of the overall effort taking place worldwide to close the gap around improving recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in STEM fields. Many TEAMM Collaboration Network partners support this significant work.