News

Mentoring Café sparks girls’ interest in STEM

By Rebecca Brock

Photography By Nicholas Kerekes

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sandia President and Labs Director Jill Hruby, in photo above, engages with a local student during a “What is Fire?” demonstration at Sandia’s first STEM Mentoring Café, a DOE outreach program to engage middle school girls.

Sandia President and Labs Director Jill Hruby, in photo above, engages with a local student during a “What is Fire?” demonstration at Sandia’s first STEM Mentoring Café, a DOE outreach program to engage middle school girls.

More than 60 Albuquerque middle school and high school girls received speed mentoring from influential women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at Sandia’s first STEM Mentoring Café on Saturday, March 12, at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

STEM Mentoring Café is a national, interagency effort designed by the departments of Energy and Education, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. The goal of the workshop is to spark increased confidence for girls who are interested in STEM careers. The hands-on demonstrations were led by Sandia women scientists and engineers and included a glow table, a fire exhibit, and robotics.

Sandia President and Laboratories Director Jill Hruby spoke to the students about her journey — from being a girl with a passion for math and science to becoming the director of a national nuclear security lab. Jill said, “STEM studies started me on a path that has been fun. I enjoyed it every day, but it wasn’t easy. If a career in a STEM field is your dream, stick with it despite any obstacles because you can do it too.”

LaDoris (Dot) Harris, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at DOE, told the girls, “Whatever you decide to do, do it well.”