ONR encouraging women to pursue STEM careers

August 6, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While an Aug. 3 government study shows women still lag behind men in high-tech educations and careers, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has been working to narrow that gap within the Department of the Navy.

ONR is coordinating the Navy's response to emphasize and encourage K-12 students to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The science and technology organization works closely with nonprofits, academia and industry developing STEM programs, many with an emphasis on girls.

ONR is not just focusing on young women, said Dr. Michael Kassner, ONR's director of research. His office oversees the STEM effort. There is also a need to provide STEM outreach to underserved youths.

"We're aware of the conclusions of the report and are proactively developing solutions," Kassner said.

The "Women in STEM: A to Innovation," released by the Commerce Department this week, concluded that women continue to be "vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce."

Although the percentage of men in the workforce outnumbers women 52 to 48 percent, in STEM related fields, a three-fold difference exists, with men occupying 76 percent of the jobs, according to the study.

"The findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM," the Commerce Department concluded.

ONR is making special efforts, for example, to raise the visibility of its Young Investigator Program among women, and partnering with academia and educational nonprofits to develop specialized K-12 programs aimed at school-age girls.

Some of ONR's partnership efforts to support the Navy's diversity and STEM outreach to K-12 girls include:

  • The Iridescent Technovation Challenge promotes in computer science and technology by developing entrepreneurial skills and confidence through the development of smartphone applications, or apps. National winners work with Google to professionally develop and distribute their apps via Google's Android Market.
  • Girls Day Out, sponsored by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, provides free keynote speakers, campus/lab tours and interactive activities to promote STEM among middle-school girls and their parents.
  • Expanding Your Horizons, scheduled to begin in October, nurtures middle- and high-school girls' interests in STEM-related courses and career pursuits through its mentor network and hands-on activities.
  • Crime Scene Investigation Summer Camp, in partnership with Southern Methodist University, exposes middle-schools girls to science applications in simulated crime-scene analysis as well as hear from experts in the field.

"These programs geared toward girls didn't exist for the most part last year," Kassner said. "They are a result of ONR's active support of Navy diversity and an awareness of gender disparity in ."

Explore further: ONR-Funded smartphone app exceeds 33,000 downloads in first 3 weeks

Related Stories

Tracking the reasons many girls avoid science and math

September 5, 2008

Most parents and many teachers believe that if middle-school and high-school girls show no interest in science or math, there's little anyone can do about it. New research by a team that includes vocational psychologists ...

Exploring science through underwater robotics

July 25, 2011

Across the country this summer, middle and high school students are making a splash by discovering science and engineering while building programmable robots to accomplish underwater missions. "WaterBotics," an innovative ...

New report offers roadmap for success in K-12 STEM education

June 28, 2011

From educators to leaders in industry, there is broad agreement that U.S. schools have a crucial challenge in improving teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among students from kindergarten ...

Recommended for you

Study into who is least afraid of death

March 24, 2017

A new study examines all robust, available data on how fearful we are of what happens once we shuffle off this mortal coil. They find that atheists are among those least afraid of dying... and, perhaps not surprisingly, ...

Scientists make new discovery about bird evolution

March 24, 2017

In a new paper published in National Science Review, a team of scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, and the Nanjing Institute of Geology and ...

Mathematical framework explains diverse plant stem forms

March 23, 2017

It is well known that as plants grow, their stems and shoots respond to outside signals like light and gravity. But if plants all have similar stimuli, why are there so many different plant shapes? Why does a weeping willow ...

How chewing like a cow helped early mammals thrive

March 23, 2017

You probably haven't given much thought to how you chew, but the jaw structure and mechanics of almost all modern mammals may have something to do with why we're here today. In a new paper published this week in Scientific ...

'Pay to publish' schemes rampant in science journals

March 22, 2017

Dozens of scientific journals appointed a fictive scholar to their editorial boards on the strength of a bogus resume, researchers determined to expose "pay to publish" schemes reported Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.