SPARTA, NJ – Driven by her passion for supporting education, Sparta resident and parent has created a program to encourage young girls to pursue STEM studies. Rashmi Drummond, herself an engineer, has created The DreamGirls Initiative, seeking to expose girls ages 11 through 14 to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in inspiring and interactive ways.
First introduced though social media on Feb 25 to coincide with Introduce a Girl to Engineering day, DreamGirls will “highlight exciting things being done by women and girls who use STEM,” according to the facebook page description.
Founder and President Drummond said she hopes to slash stereotypes commonly associated with professionals in STEM, while providing a positive message. She said, “Girls have a lot of great ideas about how to make the world better. Pursuing a career in STEM is a great way to make those ideas a reality. There is a common misconception about what scientists and engineers do. I plan to change that message.”
Drummond points to statistics from the US Department of Commerce that shows over the past 10 years growth in STEM jobs outpaces non-STEM jobs three fold. STEM workers also commanded higher wages, while experiencing lower levels of unemployment. She said that while women comprise nearly half of the work force in the US economy they hold “fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs, even as college educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.”
According to Durmmond extensive research by organizations such as Girl Scouts, universities and the federal government has delved into the question about what has led to this discrepancy. “The overarching conclusion,” said Drummond, “is that girls are interested in science and math and the majority want to make a difference in the world and help people. They simply do not know that science and engineering are pathways to help them meet those goals. STEM professionals work in dynamic environments and are charged with solving the world’s problems. We need to get that message out.”
Drummond holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering. She has had a successful career in the food industry, leaving the corporate world to raise her three children. During that time, she has been an active volunteer in the Sparta community. She served as a Girl Scout leader fob r15 years and actively supported the Boy Scouts as well. She has provided support and leadership in other community organizations including the Parent Teacher Organizations and Music Boosters in the schools, and Sparta Friends and Neighbors and Junior Woman’s’ Club of Sparta.
Her desire to support women in the STEM arena is not new to Drummond. While at college she co-founded a social sorority for women in Engineering called Phi Sigma Rho. The sorority has spread to 37 campuses across the nation with more than 4000 active members and alumnae. “I am able to tap into this network of young women engineers to help DreamGirls change the face of STEM.”
The initiative was launched in Feb on facebook with articles about a clothing company that turns trash in to fabric and a candy company celebrating its 75 anniversary. The stories all highlight they theme of DreamGirls “because dreams need doing.”
The second phase of DreamGirls will be launch September when they host their first Dream Day workshop. This program will bring women scientists and engineers from various industries together with young girls to provide hands on activities to share their everyday work experiences, according to Drummond.
Drummond said, “This is the heart of the whole initiative – showing girls first-hand how they can make a difference in people’s lives.”
DreamGirls is currently registering STEM professionals who are interested in participating in this program.
Instagram at DreamGirlsInitiative and
Twitter at DreamGirlsInit.