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Pinellas Co. school turns to professionals to encourage STEM careers for girls

Only 27% of women hold jobs in STEM fields
Women STEM workers hope to inspire girls to join the field
Posted at 5:22 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 17:39:44-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Tuesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day, and one Pinellas County School is on a mission to show girls that they can do anything they set their minds to including succeeding in male-dominated careers.

Tuesday morning 107 Seminole Middle School girls learned there’s no limit to their potential. They met with women who work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields and are thriving in their careers.

Brianna DeCarolis, a 6th grader, was particularly enlightened by the female mentors.

“One lady told me she was in a class with 32 men and only 2 girls and she had the highest grade in the class and she went through with her career and made it. That showed me that I can make it too,” DeCarolis said.

Contessa Dorsey works as a Honeywell engineer and came to speak with the girls about her profession.

“I think it’s great to expose them to it early so that they can see other professionals doing the role and say I can do that. It’s a male-dominated field but there are women able to do it,” Dorsey explained.

Girls hear stories from female STEM workers on 3/8/2022
Women STEM employees work to inspire a new generation to join the STEM fields.

Women make up about half of the workforce but only 27% of STEM careers…versus 73% of men who work in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“It’s really important because I don’t know how many times women have been told they couldn’t do it and I think they just need to know we can do it,” said 6th grader Kennedy Rayfield.

That ‘can do’ attitude is catching on quickly.

“All these ladies they’re so inspiring and maybe I will do something in engineering or something else to help everyone else too,” added 6th grader Grace McCullough.

“Women can be capable of a lot of things like men can. It’s just important that we learn about it,” added student Jaylen Terrance.

Seminole Middle School hopes its mentorship program will eventually expand across the district and will spread the curiosity and determination that could make all the difference.

“One thing I stress to the ladies is just because we are not there doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be and doesn’t mean we are not capable of it. Let’s get in these fields and show that we are equally smart, capable and worthy,” said Honeywell Engineer Shauna McCallister.