Panel to Push for More Women in STEM
Next week, a panel of local women leaders (and one in the making) will talk about “solving the equation” of the underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields.
AAUW Honolulu, the local chapter of the national American Association of University Women founded inÂ 1922, is hosting the evening conversation about the variables that affect the opportunities for success that women have in engineering and computing.Â A nice complement to the “Women in Tech” event hosted by the HVCA earlier this year,Â the Wednesday event will aimÂ its spotlight earlier in the professional pipeline.
“The lack of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics means the U.S. is less competitive in the global marketplace because half the population isnâ€™t proportionally represented,” AAUW president Joanna Amberger said in a statement.
The panel features women who work in technology as well as a high school student who plansÂ to do so:
- Robbie Melton, CEO of the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC)
Melton is also the former entrepreneurial innovation director for the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) and co-founder and past president of Women In Bio, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs, executives and career women in the life sciences.
- Betty White, Head of School of Sacred Hearts Academy
In addition toÂ leading the all-girls Honolulu school, WhiteÂ currently serves on the board of the Domestic Violence Action Center, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year. She was theÂ chair of the Central Union Preschool Committee and also served on the Governorâ€™s leadership committee for the International Womenâ€™s Conference for the past five years.
- Leslie Wilkins, Vice President of the Maui Economic Development Board
Wilkins oversees a program designed to recruit and retain girls and women and under represented groups in to the STEM pipeline.
- Sunshine Pualani Walker Topping, Vice President of Human Resources at Hawaiian Telcom
Topping’s 20-year career includesÂ stints at at IkeÂ (formerly DataHouse), Adtech/Spirent Communications, and The Boeing Company.
- Jackie Noborikawa, Castle High School Student
Noborikawa is a delegate for Castle High School’s Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative, presidentÂ of the Student Council, Key Club, and the National Honor Society. She hopes to pursue her interest in mathematics through a career in cryptography.
“Industries that have been inclusive of women benefited from a more comprehensive point of view,” Amberger added. “Companies involved in STEM would see the same competitive advantage by supporting STEM education for girls and making their workplaces welcoming to women.”
On the education front, AAUW Honolulu previously hosted Tech Savvy, its parent organization’s nationwide career conference for girls in sixth through ninth grade. Held in March at Windward Community College, and set to return in 2016, Tech Savvy includes both students and their families to reinforce interest in STEM.
“Solving the Equation: The Variables for Womenâ€™s Success in Engineering and Computing” will be held onÂ Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at theÂ Manoa Innovation Center (2800 Woodlawn Drive). Space is limited, to interested attendees are encouraged to RSVP online. Advance registration also provides the chance to order catered dinner from Kakaako Kitchen, although you can also bring your own food (beverages and dessert will be provided).
The conversation will continue the following TuesdayÂ with a public policy forumÂ on “Closing the Gap in Gender Pay Equity.”
Photos courtesy AAUW Honolulu.