We Need Feminism To Help Support Women In STEM

We Need Feminism To Help Support Women In STEM

Making feminism an integral part of the college experience creates strong, smart, independent women.
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On my first day of my first semester as an engineering student, I walked into my very first engineering lab. I was a sophomore—a typical student who realized a year into her college career that she hated her degree and wanted to change. Before I was even ten feet into the classroom, a boy grabbed my arm and stopped me.

“This is a first year engineering lab.”

I stared at him dumfounded for a second, before finally saying slowing, “Yeah...I know..."

He smiles and replies “Well, I’d hate for you to accidentally wander into an engineering lab.”

You have got to be kidding me. I have been an engineering student for approximately 15 minutes, and I’ve already been the victim of sexism. As the semester and year went on, it continued, even increased. The men in my engineering group expected me to do all the work, and a professor I have this semester refers to the four women in our class as the “lady engineers”. My advisor told me that I’d be “better off” pursuing a degree in women and gender studies if I was this bothered by the way I was treated by the engineering department.

But this article isn’t about me. This is about all the women across college campuses who are trying to learn in environments where we are the minority. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project study performed in 2011, women only received 19.2 percent of STEM degrees, and women of color only earning 3.1 percent of those degrees in the following year. This isn’t even limited to STEM, and extends into other male-dominated majors that lead to higher-paying jobs.

And if you think—this study was done in 2011, I’m sure things have improved since then!—You’d be wrong.

To make matters worse, it isn’t just engineering. I also am an undergraduate researcher at the James Cancer Center. All the labs are more or less connected, and I am one of the few women within the lab. Luckily, the lab I work in is all women—my graduate fellow is a woman, and all the other undergraduates I work with are women. But most of the primary investigators within my building are men. Most of the labs are run by men, and they therefore hire men. It certainly doesn’t help that most of the people who graduate with STEM degrees are men to begin with.

How do you bridge that gap? How do you encourage women to major in STEM when you always be the minority, whether in classes, in your research lab, etc.? It constantly feels like an uphill battle just to be on the same playing field as the men in the same place.

THIS is why feminism on college campuses is so important. As my favorite Beyoncé song reminds us, “A feminist is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes." Why is that definition important when talking about college campuses? Equality means that men and women are treated the same way. That means referring to women as just engineers instead of “lady engineers," and encouraging the women who do decide to pursue degrees in STEM majors to stick with it and support them. Representation matters—choosing to hire the few women who do get a degree and giving women someone to talk to about the struggles they have faced. Representation matters. I could repeat it a thousand times, and yet men with fewer qualifications will get hired over the woman every time—just look at the presidential election.

But more than anything else, making feminism an integral part of the college experience creates strong, smart, independent women who won’t take shit from ANYONE. Feminism will bring college women together to love, support and help each other become the best women they can be. They will come together to overcome when the odds are so clearly stacked against them. Destroying the hostile environment for women which college campuses facilitate will do nothing but improve lives for everyone - especially colleges, who are STILL not handling rape and Title IX cases appropriately (like, come on, it’s 2017).

I am a proud feminist. That means that I will fight for ALL women, whether here in the United States or a thousand miles away, and I will continue to fight, yell, and march until there is a time where all my sister women are respected for the badass and smart women they truly are. And when I can be taken seriously when I tell someone that I am a biological engineering major, pre-vet, who wants to become a veterinarian for the military, rather than be told “that’s for men”.

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

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As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

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