“What do you want to be when you grow up?” was the question that guided The Women in Tech Club’s “A Day in the Life of a STEM Major” event on March 16. Female students from John Bowne High School and the Young Women’s Leadership School were invited to Queens College to learn more about the science and technology programs that the college has to offer. Over the course of the event’s two hours, the club’s President and Vice President, Charusmita Madan and Liza Liutova, as well as other female students pursuing math and science degrees, discussed both the opportunities and challenges that come with working in a field that is still so male-dominated.
“There still a gap that needs to be covered in the Education system. The earlier we expose students to the Science and Technology field, the more likely it is they will get interested in it. That’s our way to help it,” Madan said.
Computer science and mathematics major Margarita Zais reinforced how important it is not to let other people’s opinions get in the way of one’s professional aspirations. For her, the event was a way to give to these girls the opportunity to get in touch with women who are prospering in a field that they aspire to join.
“I was the only girl in my first Computer Science class. It’s really hard because the guys have their own group, and you feel like an outsider. We need to bond with other women and let people know that we are in this field to stay. Nobody will kick us [out], we’ll just keep growing,” Zais said.
The Women in Tech Club’s vice-president, Liza Liutova, suggested that the panel gave female high school students interested in the STEM field a chance to realize that they are not alone in this journey.
“If you walk in a typical Computer Science class you will see maybe eight girls between 80 students. And now you walk in an auditory like this, majority women. We are creating a safe space for these girls. I feel that we are on the right track,” she stated.
After the panel, members of the Admissions Office gave a short presentation on the Queens College application process. The high school students then received Queens College souvenir bags and were taken on a campus tour. For John Bowne High School’s counselor, Michelle Witter, the event helped make college a reality for these students.
“Most of them live in Queens, but don’t know how the campus feels like. It’s important for them to interact with college girls and see that it’s possible to be here. They’re motivated, and now they’ll come back to school with a new focus,” she said.
Queens College students interested in the Women in Tech Club can come to the club’s next general meeting on Monday, April, 9th during free hour in the Student Union building, Room 301. For more information on the club, visit their website at witqc.slack.com.