Local science fair inspires young women to pursue STEM

Published: Jan. 25, 2019 at 5:24 PM CST
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There are tons of people going into science, technology, engineering, and math jobs, but for women it is not as common.

Women remain a minority in the STEM fields. According to a 2015 study, women made up less than one quarter of those employed in STEM jobs.

Some of the educators are trying to change the status quo.

"I think we should excel in science to show we are not only those ladies that clean clothes, we can do more too,” said Lily Day, a 5th grade science fair participant.

Day is one of five girls that competed at the fair from Hidden Lakes Elementary Link Class - a program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and art.

"If we can use technology to foster their creativity, we can find a path that will lead them down the right road," said Amanda Smith, Hidden Lakes Elementary School Link teacher.

Smith uses tools like the science fair and other math competitions to inspire her students to be leaders and problem solvers.

"Women need to know they have that empowerment and typically in years past girls have been looked down as good math leaders, but we are training our girls now through STEM activities in class," said Smith.

Dr. Audrey Vasauskus says it's important for women to have passion for science.

"They really gave it their all they really were trying and they had this great enthusiasm and I hope they stick with it," said Dr. Vasauskus, Science Fair Judge.

She has been working in the STEM field in Alabama for over 12 years.

"I've seen it grow a lot just overall in the state and it's really growing in Dothan so that's really exciting," said Vasauskus.

According to a study by CyberStates, Alabama added almost 500 tech jobs in 2014 and 2015.

At the Wiregrass Science Fair, 14 middle school projects will advance to the regional science fair in Auburn.

Nine are from Dothan City Schools.

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