Women in STEM breakfast offers career exploration


Hafsa Rahman and Olivia Richards

When Dr. Sam Zeller, senior scientist for the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, attended the Women in STEM breakfast as a South student, little did she expect to be presenting as a guest speaker this year, she explained.

The annual Women in STEM breakfast was held on Feb. 17 in the Lyceum, where roughly 80 sophomores and 10 senior students gathered to listen to three presentations from female professionals in the STEM field, Jeff Rylander, instructional supervisor of the Science Department said. Information in the presentations included the speaker’s schooling, accomplishments, and advice for the students in the room. The Math and Science Departments planned this annual event, Rylander said.

Women make up approximately 26 percent of Computer and Mathematical Occupations, and 17 percent of Engineers and Architects according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The purpose of this breakfast was to provide women the opportunity to view STEM as a potential career path and increase their representation in the field, Zeller said.

Promoting women in STEM is so important because we remain under-represented in many STEM fields,” Zeller said. “This translates into lost opportunities and doors closed for women who may have otherwise had the chance to make a major scientific breakthrough or provide some new insight into a problem that has been challenging us for decades.”