Every semester, women walk into college science, technology, engineering and math courses and are the only female in the room.
“You can imagine if you are the only one in the room who looks like you, you might think you’ve made a mistake,” said Jennifer Nielson, the associate dean in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo.
Far fewer women than men take STEM courses at universities, and even fewer will graduate with a STEM degree. About 40 percent of women who start STEM degrees will switch their majors before they graduate, according to Cydni Tetro, the founder and president of the Women Tech Council.
It’s the reason why the Women Tech Council recently kickstarted the statewide Student Innovators program, creating a network between women working on STEM degrees and connecting them with mentors. The program also includes an online platform to connect with mentors and provides webinars.