Midland Center for the Arts Hosts Women’s STEM Night at the Museum of Science & Art
This past fall, history was made when two NASA astronauts completed the first-ever spacewalk by an all-woman team, what you could say is ‘one giant leap for mankind,’ and more importantly, womankind. These two astronauts made history only 35 years after the first woman to spacewalk, and now more than any time in our history, women are entering the workforce for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
According to a report by the National Science Foundation in 2018, women comprise only 28% of the U.S. workforce for scientists and engineers, although they account for half of the college-educated workforce overall. In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Tuesday, Feb. 11, Midland Center for the Arts will host Women’s STEM Night in the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art. The event will feature hands-on science activities inspired by women scientists from history along with a panel conversation by area women in STEM fields. The Center invites adult men and women alike, as well as students considering a career in a STEM field, to explore and discover through conversation and interactive activities.
The panel conversation will be hosted by Amy Beasley, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Consultant at The Dow Chemical Company currently working with Midland Public Schools, and holds a doctoral degree in Environmental Toxicology. The engaging and informal conversation will feature panelists: Robbyn Prange, Associate Research & Development Director in Core R&D at The Dow Chemical Company; Dr. Katrina Piatek-Jimenez, mathematics professor at Central Michigan University; Dr. Shannon Martin, MidMichigan Physicians Group; and Germaine Foley, Neuroscience Senior Account Manager with Lundbeck.
As a part of the Seeing HERstory exhibits and events at the Center, the event is designed to dig into the challenge’s women continue to face as they pursue education in STEM fields, the professional workplace, and their personal lives. “It’s important not only to talk to students about these issues as they consider their futures, but to adults, as well, who work in these spheres or have family and friends that do,” said Katie Trzaska-Miller, Manager of Community Engagement. “A better understanding of the landscape for women in STEM fields leads to all of us being better allies and advocates for those currently doing amazing work, and inspiring women and girls to pursue STEM careers as part of the next generation.”
But you might ask, why hands-on science activities for an event targeted at adults? “When designing this series, I realized that I could only name three, maybe four women scientists from history,” says Miller. “The interactive activities we will host come from students at the Saginaw Valley State University Department of Engineering, Dow STEM Ambassadors, Midland High School Robotics, and Midland Women Chemists Committee. Each activity will be inspired by a woman scientist from history. It’s a chance to learn about and celebrate these women, and revisit what makes science fascinating in an engaging and comfortable environment.”
Hands-on activities will begin on Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m., with the panel conversation starting at 7:00 p.m. The Women’s STEM Night, in conjunction with the Mu Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, is free and open to the public, with a cash bar available for guests at the Museum.