Aisha Martin is doing what she loves. She has taken her own interest in STEM guide her to leading other girls to do the same. She is setting the example by creating an environment for todays generation to fill the gender gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics fields. Girls can do anything they set their mind to and Aisha is inspiring them to do just that…and more!
First, for those that don’t know, explain what STEM stands for.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Where did your own love of STEM subjects come from?
I have been a STEM girl for as long as I can remember. When asked, I’d always say that I wanted to be a pediatrician and an actress. How I was going to accomplish that, I have no idea. My earliest memories of wanting to work in the field are when I was in primary school. I decided to open my own lemonade stand without my parents’ knowledge and when my babysitter wasn’t looking. Even then, I knew that the elements had to be in order for my vision to succeed. I needed the right mixture for the lemonade in order to sell it. I needed to ensure the two plastic cups (yes, you read that correctly) I used for people to drink the lemonade “while remaining at the stand”, remained sanitized. I needed to construct a fixture to hold the cups, the money box and the pitcher of lemonade and lastly, I needed to know how to count as well because the adults were lined up to support this cute little girl with their dimes. Yes, I would say, that put me well on my way to becoming the mini-mogul STEM girl I was destined to be… until my mother shut it down when she came home from work! I always wondered what happened to that babysitter.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women make up only about one-quarter (25.8%) of STEM jobs — even though they make up nearly half of the overall workforce. For women of color, this gap is even wider.
Why is it so important that we encourage our girls to enter these related fields?
First Lady Michelle Obama said it best, “If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.”
Tell us about your organization.
The mission of Fems4STEMTM is to empower, inspire and equip a nation of girls with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be global S.T.E.M. leaders. Our vision is to close the “gender gap to innovation,” by engaging girls from underserved and historically underrepresented communities through early exposure to S.T.E.M. education and specialized mentoring.
Asian, Black women and Latinas made up less than 10% of working scientists and engineers in the United States in 2013 with only 11% of working Engineers being women.
What can parents do to encourage, develop and nurture interest in STEM at home?
Early exposure is key. Parents can encourage, develop and nurture interest in STEM at home through various methods. Cooking is a great way to introduce STEM, as it incorporates everything from measurements and temperatures to mixtures and technology. There are several STEM related apps that can be downloaded and there are TV programs such as SciGirls on PBS. STEM can be introduced through the games and/or toys that parents select for their children such as legos, Osmo Coding with Awbie, Snap Circuits Skill builder, Soap and Lip Balm labs from Science Academy and the Advance Chemistry Lab from EduScience to name a few. Barbie has also embraced STEM through their “You Can Be Anything” line. Pinterest is also a valuable resource for parents who want to nurture and empower their future STEM leader.
57% of girls ages 14-17 believe they’d have to work harder to be taken seriously in a STEM career. 71% of jobs in 2018 will require STEM skills.
Aisha Martin’s STEM journey spans almost a decade and began at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA as a Molecular Biologist. As a certified Girls Empowerment Coach, her vision is to close the “gender gap to innovation,” by engaging girls from underserved and historically underrepresented communities through early exposure to STEM education and specialized mentoring. Her experiences as a female scientist in a male dominated industry, coupled with her frustration at the lack of female STEM role models and mentors were the inspiration behind Fems4STEM™ which she founded in 2015. Fems4STEM™ is on a mission to empower, inspire and equip a nation of girls with the knowledge; skills and confidence to be global STEM leaders. She currently resides with her family in Orlando, FL.
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