This Budding Scientist-Entrepreneur Puts The Girls-In-STEM Problem In New Perspective

There’s no doubt that women tend to steer clear of careers in science and technology–the statistics simply don’t lie.

Nor is there any doubt that the persistent gender disparity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields represents a big problem for our competitiveness as a nation as well as for individual women.

But why are women underrepresented in STEM? Some say girls are deterred by an “implicit bias” that leads us to see science and math as “male” fields. Others point to research showing gender discrimination against women who apply for STEM jobs.

Sara Sakowitz, a 19-year-old freshman biomedical engineering major at Columbia University and a budding entrepreneur, has her own strong views on the matter. As she wrote in the Washington Post last year:

“I believe that in their earliest years, girls lose their spark–they succumb to societal hurdles and mental obstacles that have existed for as long as they can remember. Instead of imaginary genetic weaknesses, girls battle false portrayals of female scientists in the media and fight against the unconscious, unspoken rule that only men belong as the leaders of the world.”

And Sakowitz certainly knows a thing or two about science.

Growing up in Long Island, Sakowitz told the Huffington Post in a recent interview, she used to hang out at the medical office of her parents, both pulmonologists. Later, at an all-girls private high school on Manhattan’s East Side, she led the robotics team. When she wasn’t hitting the books or turning a wrench on a bot, she was interning in the lab of Dr. Vivek Mittal, a cancer researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Salkowitz’s work at the lab also led her to participate in the prestigious Intel Scientific Talent Search in 2014. She was —> Read More