Today we’re sharing STEM Insights from Caroline Jones Carrick, director of TEV Project
Q1. Why do think getting more girls into STEM subjects is important?
As long as girls are underrepresented in STEM, we are missing out on a huge talent pool. And we are robbing girls of the fulfilment they can find in pursuing these subjects as long as we let them think they are ‘off limits.’
Q2. With a magic wand and no barriers, what initiative or step-change would you introduce to get more girls into STEM?
In one wave of a wand I’d make girl-marketed toys and cartoons more science-friendly. There is a lot of needless, unhelpful stereotyping going on in these areas!
Q3. When or what made you realise that STEM subjects weren’t just for boys?
Honestly I never thought they were just for boys, but when I was about 11 I realised other people thought STEM subjects were just for boys. I participated in a “science olympiad” where I built a suspension-style bridge out of balsa wood and toothpicks. The participants were 98% male and I remember a bunch of them laughing at my bridge because it looked delicate. They obviously didn’t know the power of triangulation: it beat theirs in the stress test! Poetic justice.
Q4. Within the STEM field, who inspired you most to follow your career path?
Without a doubt, my parents. They raised me to think stem jobs are cool, creative and contribute to society. They were right.
Q5. Writing back to your old self at the age of 14, picking your all-important exam subjects, what would you say to yourself with hindsight?
In the USA where I grew up, you don’t pick exam subjects at 14. Typically you have general education until you finish at about 18, and though you can select your own courses in those final years of school, there are science and math requirements every year. Arguably it keeps your options open longer; you can opt to study STEM at university without having made the decision really young.