Dozens of Christel House Academy students are learning about STEM careers thanks to a program developed by an Indiana group called Government Women in Technology. “STEMpowerment” was created to inspire girls to explore jobs in science, tech, engineering and math. Cheri Walker-Owens, a State of Indiana Junior Security Engineer and 2014 Christel House graduate, is leading the effort. “It’s fulfilling to be able to do something to give back to my school,” she says.
Students meet virtually with Cheri and a team of state employees (Gabrille Young-Ortiz, Cassidy Molnar, and Stephanie Kelly) each month. “My goal for “STEMpowerment” is to give the students information I wish I knew when I was in their spot,” she says. “I’ve been very focused on getting feedback after each meeting to tailor subjects we talk about.”
STEM careers offer good options for students. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other jobs are growing at 9.8%. Anushree M Bag, Executive Director, Risk and Compliance for Indiana and Founder of the Government Women in Technology Group felt connecting with Christel House would be a good opportunity and is impressed with the student engagement. “They are getting the most value out of the coaching and mentoring that our “STEMpowerment” team provides,” Anushree says. “It’s a win-win situation as this has been a great learning opportunity for our young leaders at the State as well.” Cheri agrees. “It’s nice that students can see one of their peers come back and share their journey.”