Our society tells girls and women that they do not belong in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. As early as first grade, children have already developed a sense of gender identity, and most have developed unconscious bias associating boys with math. At almost every step of the STEM education ladder, we see girls walk away. By seventh grade, many girls are ambivalent about these fields and by the end of high school, fewer girls than boys plan to pursue STEM in college.
In May each year, to positively influence girls in our area to enter and stay in STEM fields, Vancouver Branch AAUW holds a STEM Recognition Reception. At the reception, girls who are high school juniors and excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses are honored for their achievements. The students are recommended by high school principals and faculty and are invited to attend the ceremony with their parents. The reception is held at Washington State University – Vancouver and features presentations by women working in STEM-related careers and awarding of certificates to the students. Members of the branch supply refreshments.