The Sapphires Development Initiative

STEM WEBINAR REPORT: BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE STEM COMMUNITY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

The Sapphires Development Initiative held a webinar on the 15th of June 2023. The webinar was themed Building an Inclusive Stem Community for the 21st Century. The event which held via the Zoom platform had about 150 attendees.

According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, only 16% of STEM teachers are Black or Hispanic, while 60% of girls aged 6-10 believe that boys are better at maths and science than girls, and 60% of women in STEM have experienced micro aggressions. The list of facts is endless, but however, glaring. We see the resultant effects of these facts in our societies and especially in Nigeria where there is a thick cloak of gender stereotypes in the society parading as “norms or culture.” The involvement of both genders in STEM cannot be overemphasized, from better standards of living to economic growth, reduced violence, and even generational transmission of wealth. It is, therefore, most paramount to tackle the issue of STEM involvement and much more gender equity in STEM related areas and professions.  

Dr. Shyretha Brown, a PhD graduate of Tennessee State University, USA and Founder of Building Bridges, an NGO targeting the empowerment of young black girls was the guest speaker for this event. And after a welcome session, few expectations from participants, the moderator, Susan Adiele, briefly introduced Dr. Shy who went ahead to enlighten all in attendance.

Beginning with her journey before and in STEM, up until the establishment of Building Bridges and her involvement in different sectors, it was indeed an enlightening discussion. Key take aways from the webinar would be differently represented because the message and inspiration for attendee A varied from that of attendee B, C, and others. Nevertheless, some very strong and recurring take aways would be to build strong partnerships and networks, be actively involved in a mentoring scheme, transfer and apply STEM skills, never think defeat but creativity. 

It was a real practical class as Dr. Shy moved on to answer all questions during the Q/A with life examples. All in attendance left feeling encouraged and motivated to apply STEM especially the females who thought art or social science related courses were not applicable in STEM. 

In the end, everyone realized they have individual and connected roles to play to achieve a greater inclusion of Blacks (girls) in the STEM fields. It is therefore safe to conclude that the first STEMPOSIUM series was a success and with fingers crossed, await the application and results of the insightful discuss.

 

More excerpts on our social media platforms. 

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