Bridging the Gap: Women Grad Students Talk Rise of STEM, Power of Diversity in Science (Updated March 19)

Women pursuing graduate degrees in science today are part of a tide of change. The generations of female scientists before this one often faced obstacles or backlash for their career choice. On the other end, young girls are increasingly encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. As the bridge between these two...

Women pursuing graduate degrees in science today are part of a tide of change. The generations of female scientists before this one often faced obstacles or backlash for their career choice. On the other end, young girls are increasingly encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

As the bridge between these two generations, today’s female graduate students have more opportunities, more women scientists they can emulate, and more evidence their future in science is strong. In 2013, women accounted for less than one-third of science and engineering jobs, despite accounting for half of the college-educated workforce, according to the National Science Board. The same statistics show a 121 percent increase of women in those jobs since 1993, compared to a 60 percent increase for men, slowing shrinking the gender gap.

There’s still work to do, but change is happening. We asked female graduate students at each of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s four laboratories to share their thoughts on pursuing science today and offer their advice for anyone following in their footsteps. Every Monday and Thursday throughout March, which is Women’s History Month, we will share a new podcast on these topics. You can find them all here.

Kelly Pearce checks for damage in the wing of a bat.
Kelly Pearce checks for damage in the wing of a bat during a summer night in the field. Wing scars could be a sign of white-nose syndrome.
Two scientists work in a field to investigate groundwater.
Stephanie Siemek investigates groundwater with her adviser, Keith Eshleman.
Grad student Hadley McIntosh holds up a soil sample in the field.
Graduate student Hadley McIntosh holds up a soil sample in the field.
Christina Goethel hoses down benthic samples she needs for her master's research.
Christina Goethel hoses down benthic samples she needs for her master's research.
Source: www.umces.edu