WiSTEM strives to create legacy

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WiSTEM strives to create legacy

Young women hard at work during a recent WiSTEM meeting. They meet every X-block in room 261.

Young women hard at work during a recent WiSTEM meeting. They meet every X-block in room 261.

JEREMY SUH/SAGAMORE STAFF

Young women hard at work during a recent WiSTEM meeting. They meet every X-block in room 261.

JEREMY SUH/SAGAMORE STAFF

JEREMY SUH/SAGAMORE STAFF

Young women hard at work during a recent WiSTEM meeting. They meet every X-block in room 261.

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The WiSTEM club can be summed up in two words: girl power.

The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics club, or WiSTEM for short, meets every X-block in room 261. This club encourages young women to find the fun in science and mathematics and encourages them to truly pursue their passions.

Junior Emiko Iguchi, one of the club’s co-presidents, said the club tries to bring together girls who are interested in science and mathematics and foster a drive to continue it in the future. 

“We are a group of women who are interested in STEM fields. It provides a good community, especially because women are a minority in STEM. We like supporting people who feel like they are not as welcome in STEM fields,” Iguchi said. 

The WiSTEM club does a lot of interesting activities and field trips. According to one of the club advisers, math teacher Shoshanna Kostant, the club is independently run and motivated to bring unique experiences to their members.

“They’ve done field trips, they’ve gone to Novartis, they did DNA testing, they went to Google, they brought in speakers. A lot of these kids have parents involved in sciences. They have contacts and connections. These kids are really self-driven and highly motivated. They don’t need anybody to tell them what to do,” Kostant said. 

The WiSTEM club does hands-on activities during their meetings and also plans various STEM related field trips.

According to another co-president, junior Jennifer Gerber, the club has not only fun activities but also ambitious goals of furthering their interests and spreading their pursuits past X-block.

“We are trying to make a class. Hopefully, we will get the proper funding and figure out all the parts. We do not have a full list yet, and we want to make a poll to see what students would like, but at the moment we are thinking of a food science class. I think food is a fun part of science. For some small projects, we could make ice cream and rock candy,” Gerber said. 

Kostant thinks that the WiSTEM club is the perfect environment for young women to grow and thrive in the science and math fields. She thinks it is especially important because women face negative biases.

“The environment really affects how you believe in your own ability. Specifically for girls, there is a lot of negative subtle feedback that may affect their abilities in STEM. Having those issues coming out, talking about it and seeing people like themselves who are successful has been good for the students. Many of the guest speakers encourage these kids in what they are doing,” Kostant said.

The club impacts and helps its members in a positive manner. Gerber said being in and co-leading the club has strengthened both her friendships and her love for STEM.

“I’ve always known I liked STEM, but upon joining, it solidified my desire to go into the STEM career direction. It has also made my friend group closer. My fellow co-presidents are some of my closest friends, we have something special,” Gerber said. 

Iguchi also said she can act as a mentor and help younger students find their passion.

“We help younger students who are coming into the high school and who may not know what they want to do or what direction they want to go in. We want to be mentors. And we want to form a family. It’s important for us,” Iguchi said.

The WiSTEM club continues to support the work young women do, and encourages everybody to learn, improve and enjoy STEM together. 

“We need to understand that not everybody has to do the hardest problems but rather can just enjoy math and science. That is really critical. Every student, as long as they are progressing at a pace that is right for them, can go as far as they want to go,” Kostant said. “It’s not how fast you go: it’s about how much you are enjoying it and how you are enjoying it.”

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