Columbia Girls in STEM Initiative

- If the students at Columbia University or the employees at Goldman Sachs look a little younger this week, there's a good reason why. The two have partnered on a new initiative to get young women excited about STEM skills--science, technology, engineering, and math.

These are rapidly growing fields with tremendous career opportunities. In other words, they're great jobs with good pay that are helping to change the world.

But, they're also seriously short on women, and particularly women of color, so Columbia University's School of Professional Studies and Goldman Sachs are offering a week-long program, which started Monday, to help more than two dozen women in New York get a head start.

DiJonaé Belson from Brooklyn just graduated from Dr. Susan S McKinney Secondary School of the Arts.

Mariam Cisse goes to Promise Academy II High School.

Diamond Lewis goes to Brooklyn College Academy and is a rising junior.

They're three of 25 outstanding New York high school students who were all nominated by their schools or a local non-profit to be part of the Columbia Girls in STEM Initiative, a week-long initiative happening at Columbia University and Goldman Sachs.

Anne Summers, co-site director with the Columbia Girls in STEM Initiative, says the girls will spend the week taking math classes and hearing from a host of mentors from Goldman Sachs so they can see what these professions really look like. They're also taking classes to build college skills like reading, writing, and research.

Dia Jones, also a co-site director with the Initiative, says young ladies, especially young ladies of color, are underrepresented in STEM fields. So she wants those women to know they can dream big, be bold, and when they leave the week, know this is a field they can definitely get into.

Some of these young women are already well on their way to careers in science and math.

Belson is about to go to Tallahassee Community College to study forensics because she's always wanted to be a forensic scientist or forensic anthropologist.

Lewis wants to be a neonatologist, a doctor who deals with premature babies. She says she wants to learn about other areas like engineering in case she might want to switch fields someday. Lewis says she wasn't exposed to engineering in school and loved that they had a whole introduction to engineering jobs.

Columbia has already hosted STEM weeks in Miami and San Francisco, partnering with the Miami Dolphins and Microsoft, to teach women around the country to dream big.

And these women are doing just that.

Cisse believes you can change the world by how you think. She says anything you do can change the world in a positive way.

For more on the Columbia Girls in STEM Initiative:

http://sps.columbia.edu/girls-in-stem

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