The Maricopa Community Colleges are making sure Latinas have access and opportunity to get into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Today at one of their annual Hermanas events, the Colleges continued their tradition of reaching out to Latinas in middle and high school and sharing a unique experience designed by Latinas for Latinas. The conference, co-sponsored by the Intel Corporation and the APS Foundation, invites girls to a community college campus to learn more about possible education and career paths in STEM and listen to other Latinas who have succeeded at these careers.
“Research continues to show that Latinas, as compared to other underrepresented females, are less likely to enroll in STEM, despite being a part of the largest minority group in the U.S.,” said Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of Maricopa Community Colleges. “In industry and education there have been, and continue to be, many social and cultural barriers that make it especially difficult for young Latinas to break into male–dominated STEM career paths.”
In Arizona, this issue is particularly prominent and caught the attention of the key employees of the Intel Corporation, who noticed that Hispanic pre–college girls were not fully aware of the opportunities available beyond traditional roles. These employees sought to make a difference and created the Latina Outreach Working Group (LOWG) within the Intel Latino Network employee group structure.
“For girls who may often be intimidated by non–traditional professions, male–dominated fields, or who lack the financial resources or preparation to enroll in college, the Hermanas Conference provides effective tools and practical pathways that enable them to successfully navigate these challenges,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, Founding Member of the Hermanas Conference and Current Program Manager at Intel Impact of the Hermanas Conference.
Hermanas is one of nearly 60 events the Maricopa Community Colleges are hosting during this year’s statewide SciTech Festival, Arizona’s largest celebration of science and technology. In total, more than 450 organizations are participating. For a list of free Maricopa Community Colleges events open to the public, visit facebook.com/maricopa.edu/events or azscitech.com/events.
A chapter on Hermanas authored by Dr. Harper-Marinick appears in a new book, Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy, that was released yesterday in Phoenix, AZ and Washington, DC by STEMconnector®. The STEMconnector® group focuses on the employer-driven partnerships demanded by 21st century STEM education and workforce development. The book brings together sixty-two education, business and non-profit thought leaders who share proven models that will produce the next generation of innovators and ensure these opportunities are available for all.