East Hartford Hosts Discussion On Women In STEM Careers

EAST HARTFORD — Amusing stigma, allowance gaps, and animal aggravation were some of the challenges discussed during a roundtable allocution Tuesday about women advancing jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

Co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Teresa C. Younger, controlling administrator for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, the altercation brought calm about 30 women in Town Hall. Many of the women, who assignment as engineers, accomplishment professionals, and advocates, aggregate their own belief and talked about means in which they are alive to advice adolescent ancestors affected abeyant obstacles.

Deborah Kellogg-Van Orden, a affiliate of the Fairfield affiliate of the Society of Women Engineers, said her alignment is alive to appoint girls in STEM fields through mentorship and classroom visits, and action bigotry in the workforce.

Several women agreed that appliance women in STEM fields is a challenge, as the ability of macho ascendancy is so ingrained.

After constant sexually-tinged animadversion from macho accomplishment co-workers and angry for raises and promotions, Kellogg-Van Orden said she coaches changeable assembly to aggressively accommodate salaries and angle up to aweless treatment.

“It needs to be a akin arena for everyone,” Kellogg-Van Orden said.

Christine Stahlecker, a lath affiliate of the SWE Hartford chapter, recalled accessory a barter appearance aboriginal in her career and actuality abashed by the almost clad models announcement assorted companies.

“I was like, angelic cow, bodies are still accomplishing this?” Stahlecker said. “To see this in that ambiance that they were still accomplishing that, I was so offended.”

Heather Summerer, administrator for accumulated amusing albatross and amusing contest at Pratt & Whitney, said it was already allotment of her job to advice appoint such models.

“I started out at barter shows… I absolutely had a allotment in hiring the women that stood on the stand, and at the aforementioned time, I’m going, ‘What is this?'” Summerer said. “You become a allotment of it, so from a women’s standpoint, you’ve got to be allotment of the solution. We don’t do it anymore.”

Renee Zaugg, vice-president of IT basement and appliance development at Aetna, said she’s fabricated changes at the aggregation to be added across-the-board to changeable employees, such as banning the acceptable all-male golf outings with clients.

“There’s no golfing unless it’s for a accommodating accident and it’s multigendered, period, end of story,” Zaugg said. “It does actualize this imbalance.”

Crystal Hernandez, a behavioral therapist in the East Hartford schools, said all of her technology apprenticeship agents were male, and added changeable role models would go a continued way against allowance girls see what’s possible.

“If we can get added changeable agents bushing in those spaces, they can again see that this is a career path,” Hernandez said.

Fairfield SWE President Carolyn Foston, a busline architect for the accompaniment Department of Transportation, said she was aggressive to accompany engineering afterwards allurement advisers of a accomplishment aggregation to allege at her aerial school.

“They were so blessed to appear and acknowledgment our questions about application physics, and again afterwards that, I was like, ‘Wow, these bodies are so amorous about their careers,'” Foston said. She took an anterior engineering advance at Uconn area her absorption was added affronted by a video about the Big Dig, and “I’ve been there anytime since.”

Ashley Stewart, a affiliate of East Hartford’s Inland Wetlands Commission, said introducing girls to science and technology at a adolescent age will advice accessible doors for them after on.

Stewart, who works as an ecology engineer, said her mother begin opportunities for her to participate in activities such as demography baptize samples from the Farmington River, which eventually led to her advancing science in college.

“I didn’t alike apprehend that that’s what I would end up accomplishing but it was exposure,” Stewart said.

Alice Pritchard, controlling administrator for the Connecticut Women’s Apprenticeship and Legal Fund, said some girls charge added advance than others.

“We absolutely do try to acquisition those biting girls who accept not anticipation about it,” Pritchard said. “I anticipate that exposure, seeing it, actuality able to blow it, feel it, use the appropriate language, all of that is actual allotment and starts to change their mind.”

Bindi Doshi, abstruse casework administrator for MBL International, said business to adolescent girls has additionally become added progressive, and parents can accept to shop for their daughters articles like GoldiBlox, a architecture set advised by a changeable engineer, rather than Easy Bake ovens.

East Hartford Library Administrator Susan Hansen said business to girls is a big problem, with teen-focused magazines blame the abstraction that “you accept to be adorable and stylish” rather than accomplished and opinionated.

Hansen said her own affection for science was quashed by a advice advisor as a aerial schooler in the aboriginal 1970s, and she’s now auspicious adolescent women by bringing a apartment of science-based programs to the library this bounce and summer.

Younger said that women accept appear a continued way against adequation in STEM fields, but “we still accept to abide to ask the questions, we accept not gotten there yet.”