RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 100 girls from local middle schools spent the day learning about careers in STEM.
It’s part of the American Heart Association’s ‘STEM Goes Red’ campaign, encouraging young girls to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Allscripts, one of the sponsors of ‘STEM Goes Red’ and ‘Go Red for Women’, volunteered to host the event at their office in North Hills.
Women working in the field shared advice with the girls and shared their experience entering a male-dominated industry.
They also served as mentors in breakout sessions.
In other breakout sessions, the girls worked on hands-on activities exploring careers in STEM.
“We want the students to go home and tell their family ‘I’m not afraid of math. I’m not afraid of science. Oh my gosh, you should hear about all these amazing ladies I met today. They are scientists and engineers and doctors, and, you know, I can do this too,'” said Sangeetha Menon, Director of Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association of the Triangle.
Menon said she’s gotten great feedback from the students who participated.
She recalled an interaction with one of them.
“I had a student who saw the symbol of pi on a balloon and she said ‘oh my gosh, I love pi!'” Menon said. “Just to see that spark in their eyes has been amazing.”
Alicea Starr, the Community and Social Impact Manager with Allscripts, also shared her experience with the students.
“We asked a question earlier on who is a female scientist that influences them, and so many hands shot up right off the bat,” Starr explained. “They are excited, they are inspired, and they already have influences all around them which is really great.”
Starr says she hopes her own daughter can be part of a program like this one day so she knows nothing is out of her reach.
“I want my kids to grow up with confidence,” she said. “When they have influences around them from successful adults who really want to see them succeed, that’s how they gain that kind of confidence.”
The American Heart Association is giving the girls resources for free classes and more mentor opportunities.
They say they want them to feel inspired and know they can do anything.