NewsPolk County


New grant allows Florida Poly to attract more girls to STEM fields

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 17:26:15-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida Polytechnic University is the only state university exclusively focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

“Right now, there is an overwhelming percentage of male students,” said Dr. Susan LeFrancois, Assistant Professor of Data Science and Business Analytics.

According to a recent study, gender gaps in STEM college majors emerge in high school. Florida Poly has received a $10,000 grant from the American Association of University Women to help inspire more high school girls to pursue STEM careers.

“Allow students in local schools to have equipment and opportunities to have exposure to STEM. To have exposure to the education they’d receive at Florida Polytechnic University,” said Dr. LeFrancois.

The grant will fund the purchase of STEM kits. It will also help transport students to campus for robotic and engineering activities.

“This a robot that we use for a variety of activities. It is controlled by an Arduino. So, the students can learn coding and programming. They also learn about robotics, the actual physical aspect of it,” said Indira Sukhraj, Associate Director of Educational Outreach.

Sukhraj said the university will also showcase women professionals in STEM fields.

"Being a minority woman in STEM, I want the girls to have an opportunity that I didn’t have. If they’re seeing us in action, what we’re doing and what’s available out there, we’re hoping that will inspire them and think ‘hey I can do that too,” said Sukhraj.