Megan Brownell photojournalist
From biology, chemistry, engineering, or many of the men dominated fields classified as STEM, some women often feel ostracized working in fields dominated by men. Senior founder and current co-president, Bella L’Heureux, a senior in biology, founded the Women in STEM club to give other women in her field more representation and to support each other.
“Women in STEM was created to cultivate an environment of women supporting women on campus,” L’Heureux said. “Our organization serves to lessen the gender and sexual discrepancies on our campus and community, while actively encouraging women currently in STEM.”
This is the club’s second year, and they have meetings every other Wednesday. There are currently approximately 20 members in the club, with students from the departments included in STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“A woman in STEM can be a pretty broad umbrella, but our club encompasses all areas and careers surrounding STEM, but really anyone who feels they fall under that umbrella is always welcome,” said sophomore in biology and treasurer Kohley Stringer.
For this academic year, the club will be working on being pen pals for girls at a local middle school.
“This program is to help middle school girls who are interested in STEM, or just to help encourage them to pursue STEM and help give them the options here at PSU,” L’Heureux said.
When L’Heureux discovered gender discrepancies at PSU, she wanted to help change those discrepancies in the field. The club is also open to members of the LGBTQ+ community who face similar difficulties in identifying as women and for everyone who faces discrimination, bias, or harassment in their fields.
They are active on their Instagram (@psu_stem) in having what they call “Women in STEM Wednesdays.” On these days, they make posts highlighting historical women who have helped make big impacts in STEM for fellow women to help encourage other students or young girls to pursue the field.
Stringer also mentioned why she decided to join the club.
“I decided to join one, because I loved the idea of pen-paling these young girls to encourage them to pursue STEM, but secondly, I wanted to be able to have a support group that I can share and have people listen to the struggles that women face while pursuing a degree in male dominated fields,” Stringer said.
They will be having their next meeting on Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Kansas 2 Room of the Overman Student Center. They also have a Gorilla Engage page and have posted all future meetings for the rest of the semester. Meetings are open to all who wish to help support women in STEM.