Program designed to increase girls’ interest in STEM fields

Study found 1/3 of boys pursuing STEM careers, only 11% of girls

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – New research shows that fewer high school girls are pursuing careers in science and math, but some local schools are working to change that.

Easthampton High School just completed a state-funded program designed to get more girls interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, which tend to be dominated by men.

A new study conducted by Junior Achievement revealed that career preferences are based on gender. More than 1/3 of boys pursued careers in STEM, compared to only 11% of girls.

Easthampton High School received a grant from the state to engage girls at the school in STEM careers. The purpose was to educate, and provide more exposure to women in these careers.

“Humans, we naturally gravitate towards people who are like us, so if girls don’t see a lot of girls in these careers, they won’t know if they’re welcome in these careers,” said Sarah Miller, a career development specialist at Easthampton High School.

Girls involved in the three-month program went on field trips to three colleges, including UMass Amherst, where they worked with college students. They also participated in workshops, where they worked with new materials and technology purchased with the grant money- including VR headsets and 3D pens.

Franklin County Technical High School also received a similar grant to increase STEM interest in young women.