The talkSTEM team was thrilled to receive all contest submissions and we look forward to hearing from more young women during our Nextel writing and photography contests cycle (keep an eye on our social media for dates).  We greatly appreciate all the entries from the girls who took the time to share their STEM stories with us.  We know that there are a great number of extremely smart and motivated girls out there ready to face this world!

Here are some excerpts from the runners-up:

Uduak Ekpengyong is an 8th grader from McMillan Junior High School

I had not even heard of soldering before this year, and I ended up really enjoying the project in which soldering was involved. The STEM program has taught me so much, and by that I do not mean that it’s only taught me why it’s important to wear safety equipment or be cautious when using power tools, but it’s inspired me to do anything that I want to do. Especially being a female in a male-dominated class, it was difficult at times, but I luckily had a strong female STEM teacher who believed in me.

Naomi Rodriguez is an 8th grader from McMillan Junior High School

I was homeschooled all my life, and this was my first year in public school. I was excited and nervous at the same time. The first day in S.T.E.M. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited. When I came into the classroom I wasn’t expecting to see only four other girls. I felt very out of place. The first project I felt as if none of the boys wanted to work with me. I wanted to prove that I can do it and be equal or better. So I teamed with one of the girls. We quickly became friends and I felt better to have someone I can talk to since I came into the year with no friends. Even tho I felt out of place in a male dominated field, the S.T.E.M. classroom quickly became my home. Somewhere I can feel safe and comfortable to be myself.
For our very first S.T.E.M. project we had to build a 3D model of the classroom. We were given five or six file folders and only allowed to use hot glue. We had two weeks to create our blueprint and finish our model or the classroom. I soon realized that the girls were better at time management and had a big advantage over the boys in that way.
My partner and I had learned how to communicate together to make the process faster…The most challenging part was creating all the little objects that go in the room, and getting them to the right size so they could fit. We had to create more then one of some objects before we got it to the perfect fit. We than did the penciling and cutting again to create the little pieces. For the end we hot glued them into place, cut out are windows, and added the final details with pencils. To create a real looking mini 3D classroom.
At the end, our project was in first place and it made me feel good…I felt like I had achieved showing the boys I can do as good or better. Ever since I have had all least one boy on my team because they know I will do a good job on the project. The girl I teamed up with was a few tables away, and no-one wanted to team with me or her. So it felt good to show that we can do it too.
3d model

Next Contest

Stay tuned for our next contest coming up in the fall! We will be restarting our science writing contest, so keep coming back and stay connected with us on social media! Let the girls grades 7th – 12th grade know that they have a chance to speak their mind on STEM.
girl power

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About the Founder & CEO

Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.


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