Faculty and students from the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science weighed in on “Increasing Women’s Participation in STEM Careers” as part of a roundtable discussion on WRHU’s A League of Our Own radio show moderated by student journalist, Danielle Zulkosky.
Panelists included Dr. Sina Rabbany, Ph.D., dean of the DeMatteis School, Gretchen Ostheimer, professor of computer science, computer science students Lynn Luong ’19 and Kelly Rose ‘20 and Lori Spano, a former engineer at Boeing who currently advises STEM students at Wilson Tech Dix Hills.
According to Dr. Rabbany, the key is exposing girls to science, technology, engineering and math at a young age.
“By the time young women come to college, they have already decided whether they are pursuing studies in these fields or not,” Dean Rabbany said. “Our job is to nurture those women and I think we’re doing a good job. Our retention rate (at the DeMatteis School) is actually higher with women than their male counterparts. The challenge is how to encourage women to pursue these fields earlier, in elementary schools.”
Rose, who is interested in a career in cybersecurity or artificial intelligence, shared her experience as a young woman studying in a field that is dominated by men.
“There’s still a stigma that math and science are male careers,” said Rose. “We have to prove that we belong. There is a pressure to prove ourselves constantly and that scares a lot of people (women) off.”
WRHU’s A League of Our Own radio show strives to provide a forum for the issues important to women.