Inspiring students and professionals to pursue and excel in a career in STEM fields is the organization’s primary goal
Sacramento – Latinas in STEM, an organization seeking to inspire and empower Latinas in K-12, college and professional careers to pursue and thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities was named Nonprofit of the Year by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). The organization was recognized at the 2nd Annual California Nonprofits Day at the state Capitol on June 28th.
“I am honored to recognize Latinas in STEM for working to inspire young Latinas, especially those from underserved communities, to pursue careers in STEM fields,” said Wieckowski, whose 10th District takes in much of Silicon Valley. “The group has provided after-school programs for over 500 students in Alameda and Santa Clara counties and these activities can open up new horizons for many female students. When they meet a role model face to face, who overcame many of the same obstacles they may be encountering, it is a great experience. All of the Latinas in STEM founders were the first in their families to attend college.”
“We are honored to work within District 10 in California,” said Rosemary Vergara, Latinas in STEM’s director of K-12 outreach. “We have participated in conjunction with Alpha Public Schools in San Jose to host our K-12 STEM 101 conference with support from Santa Clara University. We also look forward to hosting another K-12 STEM 101 conference with Winton Middle School in Hayward in the near future. Our next event involves hosting our annual meeting where our board of directors and national members can come together and plan the future efforts of our organization.”
Vergara attended the Nonprofit of the Year event with Latinas in STEM co-founder Jazlyn Carvajal.
Although female and male high school students enroll in advanced science and high level mathematics at near comparable rates, gender disparities begin to emerge at the undergraduate level. Women outnumber men in bachelor’s degrees in all fields and some science and engineering fields. However, when it comes to specific studies, such as computer science and engineering, women receive only 17.9 percent of the computer science degrees and 19.3 percent of engineering diplomas, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.
The numbers are more striking for women of color. Minority women received barely 11 percent of science and engineering degrees and only 4.8 percent of computer science degrees. In the job market, women are half of the United States’ college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. Latinas, blacks and American Indians in the STEM workforce represent less than half of their proportion in the American population.
Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.