STEM careers refer to those in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For many years, these industries have been male-dominated, but now the bias is starting to break. More and more women are entering these fields and bringing incredible contributions with them. By showcasing their incredible work, young women around the world can be inspired to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in STEM.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on how some of our partner universities that are leading the charge in supporting women in STEM.
Arizona State University
As the #1 most innovative university in the USA (U.S. News & World Report, 2016–2022), Arizona State University (ASU) is well known for its forward-thinking approach to teaching and the ethos of ambition that it instils in its students.
This aligns with ASU’s support of women in STEM and its overall philosophy of diversity. An example of this support includes the University’s involvement in the 2021 Mars rover landing.
The mission saw an ASU-led camera system mounted on the rover, which zoomed from wide angles and took 3D photos and videos in up to 11 unique colours. This impressive piece of technology requires a team to produce the images and videos and bring them back to Earth, which is the job of a talented team of female scientists at the University.
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These dedicated, hardworking women have to operate on Mars time while the mission takes place, meaning they must sacrifice time with their families and parts of their daily life to carry out their jobs.
Their inspiring contribution to space exploration is paving the way for a more equal balance between the number of men and women in STEM jobs. They are acting as role models for the future generation of women striving towards a career that they may have once believed was out of reach.
International students who study in the USA have the option of applying for OPT (Optional Practical Training). Those with successful application can work in the USA for as long as 1 year after completing their degree. However, students with STEM degrees will actually have the opportunity to extent their OPT by up to 2 years.
The number of degrees that are eligible for this extension is higher than you might think. They even include subjects like Business Analytics!
As a women-centered university, Simmons University in Boston has always supported gender equality and the freedom for women to have just as many opportunities as men in the workplace, across all industries. In particular, Simmons’ inclusive environment gives confidence to women studying and pursuing careers in STEM.
The University has been empowering women leaders for over 120 years, and one of the more recent ways it’s been doing this is through an annual “hackathon” called SharkHack. The event provides women and non-binary students with the chance to code, design and develop apps and games.
SharkHack was co-hosted by Kaya Chou-Kudu in 2019, a Simmons student who graduated in 2020 with a BS in Computer Science, and is currently employed as a Full Stack Software Engineer.
“Simmons promotes a welcoming classroom atmosphere where I don’t have to worry about being overshadowed or overlooked because of my gender” — Kaya Chou-Kudu
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Participants are able to express their ideas and creativity through technology in the form of this friendly competition, while making the world of tech more inclusive as a result. It’s breaking down the barriers of this male-dominated field and encouraging young women to make their mark on the industry.
University of Essex
In a world where the women in STEM are generally underrepresented and overlooked, the University of Essex has always been proud to shout about the female alumni who have entered the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The University’s commitment to promoting gender equality is evident through its long list of Athena SWAN Awards. This award is given to departments within institutions that support gender equality in the form of teachings, research and how the departments operate.
A few ways the University as a whole has proved its commitment to gender equality is by closing its staff pay gap among professors, and making accessible and inclusive family leave available to all.
However, one of the key ways that the University of Essex has shown its support for gender equality is through its partnerships with 2 Brazilian universities in an effort to attract and retain women in Computer Science and Engineering roles.
The partnership will consist of a year-long project funded by the British Council, focusing on 3 groups of activities. These include workshops and sessions between Essex and the Brazilian partners to create policies that improve women’s career progression, mentoring and career-building talks, and the development of materials on career prospects.
Pursue a career in STEM
Our partner universities are helping to redefine the gender norms when it comes to STEM careers, and with their help, you could be on your way to becoming part of one of these exciting industries!
Find Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics degrees using our degree finder, or contact us for more information on how you can pursue a STEM career by studying at a top university in the USA or UK.