The STEM field has been historically male-dominated; however, men like Charlie Endicott are able to recognize the growing importance of female representation within the field.
Endicott is the associate director at Salisbury University's Career Services, and he wanted to empower the women of SU to defy the odds of gender stereotypes with the organization of the first Women in Stem Career Services event.
The event spanned through two nights between Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 and was in recognition of powerful women in the STEM field.
The first event consisted of a panel discussion, with panelists coming from different areas of the STEM field. Ranging from NASA to the local Salisbury Zoo, each of these women provided a unique perspective and words of advice for others who wanted to pursue careers within this field.
Chandra Knabel, IT Services Strategy and Compliance director of Breakthru Beverage Group, was one of the panelist selected to speak at the event.
Knabel worked to summarize her advice for potential job candidates in the crowd.
“Be personable, well-rounded and make a connection that will set you apart from other candidates,” Knabel said.
Networking and communication were common themes of the night, with an emphasis on creating unforgettable connections to your employer, who has the ability to set you apart from other job candidates.
Director of Human Resources at Eurofins Agroscience Services Heather Hillaert also gave advice on how women can be successful in a male-dominated field.
Hillaert highlighted that fear is the largest obstacle, and once you overcome that, your options are limitless.
“The only thing you can control is yourself and your contribution," Hillaert said. "Do not be afraid to prove yourself by hard work and resourcefulness. There are many candidates out there for each role. Highlight what makes you feel special through the interview and after you are in your job.”
Establishing a connection with potential employers is a common struggle within college students, which is what the STEM networking night worked to help out with.
Throughout this event, students were able to create connections with organizations ranging from Harvard Bioscience Incorporated to Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
SU junior Marie Martin knows what it is like to feel marginalized and intimated by a predominantly male-dominated field.
Majoring in medical laboratory science, Martin compared the domination of men in the STEM field to the metaphor of an artery with a band-aid — not healed, and still a lot of work ahead in regard to progress of women's equality in the field, and in many fields, for that matter.
"It's still kind of like a band-aid on an artery. There's still blood pumping out and there's still a lot of really stop-gap measures that you should be looking at the broader societal restraint of women in terms of these fields," Martin said.
Though she feels marginalized in the field, Martin also feels empowered by her other female peers who, like her, are working to defy the stereotypes and make a name for themselves in the field.
With events like the Women in STEM event held by the university, Martin does feel that SU is taking the right steps toward vocalizing a known issue and calling attention to it in a positive light.
"I think that it shows that SU understands that it's a problem," Martin said.
SU's Career Services hopes that events like the Women in Entrepreneurship event help to provide a baseline as to cultivating one's unique career path and establishing connections that the average college student would not have access to.
"I want women to look at these panels and think ‘Why can't I do that?’ and leave knowing that they can,” Endicott said.
Students seeking more information on panels and job resources can visit Career Services inside the Guerrieri Student Union, Room 133.
By STEPHANIE RIVERA
Graphic by Amy Wojtowicz.