Symposium encourages female students to pursue STEM careers

Paul Kurtz
November 13, 2018 - 4:07 pm

Paul Kurtz | KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The School District of Philadelphia and the American Heart Association held a symposium Tuesday designed to encourage more female students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Faranah Benoit has a passion for math and science, so attending this one day event with dozens of other high school students was a natural fit for the ninth-grader.

"I want to be a forensic pathologist. I should be involved with the career I want to be when I get older, so I might as well attend the STEM program because it's best for me," she told KYW Newsradio.

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The students got career advice and inspirational stories from several female corporate leaders including, Dawn Zier, President and CEO of Nutrisystem. She says STEM careers cross over into almost any field.

"Even in marketing, everything in marketing is around data, data analytics, and math all come into a lot of careers as we go forward. I think it is really important for young women to be skilled in these areas," she said.

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All this was music to the ears of Melanie Harris, the school district's lead organizer, who says America is facing a looming STEM job crisis.  

"In the next ten years, statistics show about 70 percent of all jobs will be in STEM, and if our young women don't choose this path and stay we won't have enough people, even if all the men decided to take on a STEM job," she warned.
Harris says nearly 8 million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math will be available by the end of this year.