• Holly Harris

Advancing Women and Girls in STEAM Fields: A Project for Israel

Updated: Jul 10

Originally published Nov 10, 2021


We just finished up an IVLP project for Israel titled “Advancing Women and Girls in STEAM Fields” in collaboration with the Institute of International Education(IIE).


On October 28th we organized a meeting with Allison Schwanebeck, the Director of Exhibits at The Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa. She shared more about the Girls in Science Initiative and how it improves access to STEM opportunities for women and girls. There are a variety of workshops, partnerships with schools, and mentorship programs available for girls of all ages to start their exploration of STEM fields.


On November 1st, we organized a panel discussion with the University of College of Engineering. The panelists included Sarah Vigmostad, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering; Sam Mittal, the President of Society of Women Engineers (SWE); and Brianna Brennecke, an undergraduate student within the UI Department of Biomedical Engineering. They discussed how they promote women in STEM from both a higher education and a student-led perspective. A large emphasis within the College of Engineering is on student outreach, advising, and retention.


During these conversations, we discussed and shared how to convince young women and girls to invest in STEM and then stay in the field after they receive a degree. Due to the existing expectations that women must have children and stay at home, reentering the STEM workforce competitively remains challenging. They discussed strategies for making the workforce more supportive and inclusive for women and teaching young boys and men to be allies for women in STEM.


Thank you to all our local resources who dedicated time out of their day to share your experiences and insights with these brilliant IVLP participants. Thank you to the IIE project team as well for helping arrange these meetings. You all help us promote CIVIC’s mission of fostering mutual understanding across borders through citizen diplomacy.





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