• Darshini Babu Ganesh

A Young SuperHERo Girl's Journey to STEM

By Jasmine Gibson

When we think of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, we typically imagine a male-oriented field and for a while, that was what children were raised to believe. Young girls imagined themselves in professions that were more based on art and teaching while young boys were taught how to use tools and fix cars. This was mostly due to the mythical stereotype that boys were better than girls in math and science and that STEM was just too “masculine”. However, as we watched technology change and advance around us and watch our little women become more intrigued in becoming apart of that change, we have come together to break the stereotype of only men being in the STEM field. While in 2009, only 24% of those in the STEM field were women, that statistic has moved up to 40% since then. Although we still have a gap to close, it is obvious that this is only the beginning. Now, there is more support, activities, clubs, and workshops that encourage young girls to get more involved in STEM and lucky for me, I was able to see it in action.

Through an immersive process, Kashmir World Foundation (KwF) was able to conduct a five day hands-on drone building, programming, and flying workshop for fifteen students at Glasgow Middle School thanks to a grant funded by the Business Women's Giving Circle (BWGC).

I spoke with Tanya La’force, the chair of network and education committee and Faith Boettger, the chair of BWGC about how the BWGC functions and how they selected the DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop for SuperHERo Girls as one of five winning grants. La’force explained to me that before BWGC can fund an organization’s event, they must first get the money for it. BWGC first employs a model of collective philanthropy and last year they received forty-five members who all granted a thousand dollars each. The grantees who would like to be funded then sends an application that gets reviewed by fifteen members of BWGC where they start an evaluation process with the applicants. After coming up with the finalist, the selected applicants then come in to present their program in an attempt to prove why theirs deserve funding. Kashmir World Foundation was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the grantees the Business Women Granting Circle would fund. They were awarded $5,000 to fund their DaVinci Challenge workshop at Glasgow Middle School.

La’force also expressed her excitement for what the future may hold for these girls who are interested in working with drones, rather it be for environmental purposes, civil purposes, or medical purposes. Although I was only fortunate enough to see the very last workshop meeting, seeing the girls in action and hearing how they would like to inc