Encouraging Women to Enter STEM Fields Through Tinkering
Tom Spendlove posted on December 17, 2016 | | 2882 views

Andrea Lane wants to keep girls engaged in STEM fields and careers. At her TEDx Talk Thinkers to Tinkerers, Lane presents her experience in Cleveland's MC2STEM High School system and her time beyond high school.

Being a part of MC2STEM's first class gave Andrea several opportunities. She helped to develop and test the curriculum that future classes would use. The students used 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers to build several different projects. A mobile FabLab was founded to bring the ideas of making and STEM to the greater Cleveland area.

Demonstrating her knowledge of advanced manufacturing gave Lane an empowered feeling. Sharing the ideas behind building and making with a wide range of people, from elementary students up to retired or displaced workers, helped to cement the value of STEM fundamentals. Andrea makes a great point in this talk that the capacity to learn a skill like digital fabricating can start whenever you have access to the equipment. Five year olds can understand the ideas behind laser cutting, if they have exposure to a laser cutter.

Andrea Lane is also featured in one of Chevron's Women, STEM, and America's Future videos, discussing her experience today as a college student at Cleveland State and manager of the current high school FabLab.

Another great part of the Chevron STEM Zone's focus on women in STEM is an article by Blair Blackwell from The Seventy Four, 5 Ways to Get More Women in STEM: Mentoring, Motivation, Mistakes. Her five points: Point girls toward women role models in STEM, Provide teachers with the tools they need, Show girls that STEM is about trial and error, Underscore that STEM careers lead to social good and meaningful change, and Prioritize mentoring moments from Day 1. Blackwell's article is an incredible resource for educators full of big ideas and also statistics and websites for curriculum and support.

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