I Am Challenging The Unconscious Gender Bias In STEM Fields

I Am Challenging The Unconscious Gender Bias In STEM Fields

When Women Are Steered Away From STEM
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Something you see a lot of articles about is women in STEM fields. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and generally encompasses any career that’s “techy.” Generally, you see a lot of articles about the underrepresentation of women in STEM. According to research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are 48% of the workforce, yet only about 24% of STEM jobs. As a girl who’s been active in STEM, namely engineering focused, I think that this needs to be changed.

A lot of the discouragement that females face is mostly unconscious, things we don’t even realize is happening. Google images for “engineer,” you only see stock photos of men building buildings, working with tools, or overseeing work sites. If you are a young girl, you don’t see people who look like you. Studies show that not being able to identify with someone or something discourages interest. As girls show more interest in STEM in middle or high school, the discouragement from either peers or superiors only grows. In high school, I was on an all-girls robotics team, the largest and most decorated girls’ team in the world. However, when we placed second at a very competitive regional, the adult mentor of another team who didn’t place told us “not bad for a couple of Girl Scouts.” When I went to an engineering camp, I was one of three girls in our fifteen person group. When I was chosen to lead the group in the simple task of building wooden gliders, the majority of the boys questioned my every move or didn’t listen. When we repeated the task a few days later, this time with one of the guys leading it, I had never seen a more cooperative group of boys. When the group was building a shed, the guys automatically gave us three girls the jobs of painting or getting supplies, or would either refuse our help or take the tools away, saying “Oh we got this” or “It’s ok, I can do it.” I could have learned so much more if I could have helped more. I still enjoyed the camp, but sometimes I wonder how much more I could have done.

I fully understand that this will never change if people just complain. However, many men asked about gender bias in STEM don’t believe that the discrimination exists. Even with countless reports. This problem boils down to an “I don’t experience it, therefore it must not be real” or “I don’t discriminate, I’m sure the people I work with don’t” mindset. The unconscious bias leads to underestimation of female colleagues, rejecting a resume with a female name yet accepting the same resume with a male name, or pushing stereotypes on young children. “That’s for boys.” “You can’t use the blocks, you’re a girl.” The gap is narrowing, however, as more parents are more conscious of “boy toys” or letting their children play with both dolls and cars. This gap will not vanish until there is a culture shift among the older generations. Women are still seen as less professional, and the same characteristics that let men be termed “a strong leader” or “authoritative” are often labeled in women as “bossy”, “naggy” or even “she’s a b*tch.” The only thing for us to do is know and trust our own worth, and find others who value our intelligence too.

I am an engineer. Sure, I’m not a very good one yet. But I love messing with how things work too much to stop now. There is no true picture of what an engineer looks like.

Cover Image Credit: Kanchan Potter

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If South Carolina Colleges Were Characters From 'The Office'

Who's Jim and who's Meredith?
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"The Office" is one of the best shows on the face of the planet. Don't believe me, you obviously haven't watched it. It has a character for everything, including all of the South Carolina colleges.

The Citadel

This one is probably the easiest. Creed Bratton. Hands down. Military all day every day. No one knows what really goes on behind closed doors, except the people there. Just like Creed's mind.

Coastal Carolina University

Consistently voted one of the top party schools in the nation. #It'snotcollegeit'sCoastal.

Winthrop University

Winthrop is the place for future teachers. We all know that Meredith is the mother/teacher figure in the office, which is kind of scary in and of itself.

Columbia College

Erin just seems like the type of person who would go to an all-female college.

Bob Jones University

At what other school do you see people wearing things that could be from the American Girl large colonial dolls Spring line?

Wofford College

The pearls, Greek Life, and Southern fashion are so real.

Furman University

Let's be real. Pam is a bit of a nerd. But at the end of the day, she does know how to get down. I mean she WAS on the party planning committee. And who doesn't want that Ring By Spring?

College of Charleston

Nard Dog is definitely in an a capella group in Charleston, taking in the city and the history while dressing like a frat star.

Medical University of South Carolina

Andy isn't alone in Charleston. Dwight is down there becoming a doctor. Yes, someone who can save lives and is able to do surgery. Although, who else would you expect to be a doctor?

University of South Carolina

There would be no South Carolina without the University of South Carolina. There would be no office without Michael Scott. The later seasons prove it. They're large and in charge.

Clemson University

While Michael thinks that he runs the office, it's no secret that Jim is the mastermind behind the operation. The office would fall apart without him. I'll just let that sit.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Even After Family Weekend, I Haven't Gotten Homesick And I'm Not Ashamed Of It

It's really OK.

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Now that we have successfully drifted into October, I am about a month and a half into my freshman year of college.


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As the leaves on the trees start to change colors and the skies start fading to grey, Family Weekend rolls around. As a preface, I used to live in Connecticut. I think it's safe to say I still #BleedBlue even after living in South Carolina for my high school career. Regardless, it's safe to say me attending the University of Connecticut is a little ways away from my parents and cats.

That being said, the last time I saw my mom and dad was move in day. Exactly six weeks without seeing my dad or giving my mom a "huggie". I have been away from home before, for example I went to Ireland and Scotland this summer for a week with a teacher from school and a few other kids that went to my high school.

I don't miss high school and I enjoy living in a dorm with my amazing roommate and hanging out with people pretty much everyday and just doing my own thing, but it's weird not coming home and seeing my parents every night.


I mean look at those twoElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


See, I can't describe this as home sickness, because I talk to my mom on a pretty consistent basis, she sends me pictures of my cats, and I just haven't had that cloud of sadness over my head because I miss home. Not to say I haven't been sad in college, stuff happens, but it hasn't been like what sooo many other people talk about it to be.


my four cats on my parent's bedElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


Even now, a few days after seeing my parents, I miss the people not the place. I'm not going to guilt trip myself over this either. I think it's healthier! It was super nice to hang out with my parents again. I got fed well and spent a night off campus for the first time since I got here. Another positive was not having to jump out of my bed the next morning or wear shower shoes while showering

I'm hoping while writing this, that the stereotypical home sickness doesn't catch up to me in the near future (preferably not at all).


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Even just six weeks in, I feel like I have grown as a person and changed. I will say it was amazing to see my parents, but I'm glad I'm away from home being able to blossom into an educated young woman.

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