In an excellent piece released today on Huffington Post, Chelsea Clinton articulates the reasons why the time is now for gender equality in STEM. We need to better harness the curiosity, imagination and inventive spirit of the other half of the globe’s population. Until we do, we are sub-optimum at a time when the world’s problems beg for creative solutions.
Among the reasons cited, Clinton tells the story of a 2009 NCIIA grantee, receiving $20,000 to give DayOne Response it’s early start at CalPoly. Clinton writes, “In 2008, Tricia Compas-Markman, who went on to earn a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering at California Polytechnic State University in 2009, received an Outstanding Commitment Award from CGI U for her now-patented invention, the DayOne Waterbag. Tricia invented the personal water treatment device — which provides collection, treatment, transport, and storage all in one lightweight unit — in order to prevent waterborne diseases in developing nations prone to natural disaster, such as Thailand, Nicaragua, and Haiti. For her invention, Tricia won first place in her university’s Ray Scherr Business Plan Competition, the Creativity Foundation’s Legacy Prize, and the Outstanding Young Person’s award in Japan for social innovation. Her example inspired other students, including young woman, to imagine, to invent, to innovate — and helped underscore why STEM is so often vital to translating ideas into solutions.”
I urge Student Ambassadors, in specific, and University leaders in general to read the article on the Huffington Post site and think of ways to attract more women to their STEM programs as they cultivate the next generation of innovators.