Guest Blog: STEAM Heat

Hi, All!  It’s IdealisticRebel’s sister, and I’m hijacking her blog for the day (with permission, of course).

Tomorrow, I will be participating in a panel hosted by the American Association of University Woman (AAUW) in what is being called a STEAM Conference which encourages young women, still in Middle School and High School, to enter traditionally male fields.

You may have heard of STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math.  AAUW recognizes that there is a growing need for women to enter the realms of digital Art as well, so STEM becomes STEAM, and I will be doing my part to encourage the young attendees to break out of traditionally female roles and join the ranks of the STEAM Women.

What’re my credentials?  I’ve worked in male-dominated fields for 22 years — first in Architecture, as a Computer-Aided Drafter/Designer, and now as a Technical Support Analyst for a major software company in North East Ohio.  More than that, my first attempt at a college degree was in Engineering.  Currently, I hold 3 degrees — Associates’ in both Architectural CADD and Computer Networking, and a Bachelor’s in Network Security Systems.

What’s my message?  It’s not the traditional one that so many women have heard all their lives:”math is hard” and “technology is for boys”.

Math can be hard, but it can also be fun — and you really do use it everyday (try balancing your checkbook without it)!  Technology wasn’t made for boys, it was made for people and the last time I looked, Women And Girls Are People, Too (I know, this comes a shock to some people, but it’s a fact of life, nonetheless).

Is it easy being “the only chick in class”, as I was for most of my last two degrees?  Not always, but that shouldn’t stop the next generation.  Because if enough girls and young women enter STEAM fields, they won’t be the only female in class; they’ll be part of the norm, no longer a sidebar, but the main article, as it were.

That’s not enough reason to do it, of course; just to increase the numbers isn’t a reason why anyone should go into any field.  The reason should come from you:

Because Science means that when you look up at night, you don’t just see “diamonds in the sky”, you see balls of hot gas, billions upon billions of light years away, with worlds swirling around them, and the fact that the light of those little diamonds left their home stars before the Earth was born blows your mind, and you want to know more.


Because Technology means that you know the difference between a bit and a byte and you want to make Apps that make people’s lives easier.

Because Engineering means that when you see an electric car go by on the road and your first thought isn’t that it looks cool, or even how much money it costs to run, your first thought is what makes it go?

Because Art means that you play video games, alone or online, and you find yourself sketching the characters and want to make those characters you sketch come alive.

Because Math  makes sense to you, because numbers never lie and they make the world a more orderly place.

But mostly, just because you are YOU and you deserve to do what you love, no matter what that is, and no matter what other people think is ‘gender appropriate’.

Because you’re a person, too, and people get to make their own choices.

Make your choice, whatever it is, traditional or not.  Just be sure the choice you make is yours.