DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., November 01, 2010
Millions of jobs will become available in STEM related fields by 20181, but with U.S. children falling behind in STEM education, the next generation of job candidates will be unprepared and unqualified to take advantage of these career opportunities. In response to a pressing need to educate tomorrow’s workforce, Danica McKellar, well-known for her roles on “The Wonder Years” and “The West Wing” and now also a mathematician and best-selling author, is teaming with DeVry University for National HerWorld month in November to inspire young women across the country to explore careers in STEM related fields.
Now in its 13th year, DeVry University's HerWorld program provides an opportunity for high school girls to explore fast-growing careers of the 21st century in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). National HerWorld month is an initiative hosted by DeVry University educators that will introduce young girls to women who have excelled in their fields.
“Our society still promotes outdated, negative stereotypes that lead girls from a young age to believe that math is too hard and that it’s only for boys. For several years, it’s been my mission to reverse these damaging messages by giving girls the tools they need to improve their math skills and self-esteem, and showing them that intelligence is key to becoming a fabulous young woman someday.” said McKellar. “I’m thrilled to be partnering with DeVry University’s HerWorld program to further this mission. During National HerWorld month, we’ll be introducing high school girls to powerful female role models and opening the door to exciting STEM career opportunities that they may never have imagined possible. We’ll show them: ‘You can do this!’ "
Danica will host a national HerWorld event in New York City on November 19 where 350 high school girls will participate in education and confidence building workshops and work together to build miniature robots. Nearly 7,200 high school girls from hundreds of high schools will participate across the country at nearly 50 local HerWorld events where in addition to seminars and a robotics workshop, they will listen to local female leaders discuss their career journey and gain inspiration towards their future endeavors. DeVry University’s corporate partners including HP, Cisco and Microsoft will also take part to support the program’s powerful message. Every participating HerWorld high school across the country will receive a copy of Danica’s best-selling book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, for their library.
“There is a pressing need to break down gender barriers in STEM industries, especially given information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that women make up nearly half of the American workforce, but hold only 14 percent of engineering positions and 25 percent of mathematics positions2,” said David J. Pauldine, president of DeVry University. “We are thrilled to be working with Danica in an effort to help young women realize their full potential. National HerWorld Month is part of DeVry University’s commitment to moving STEM education forward and helping young women realize that no career dream is out of reach.”
Across the country, HerWorld high school participants will work in teams as part of a nationwide contest to invent a revolutionary way to use an existing product. The best products from each event will be judged and in April 2011, Danica will teach a math class at the grand prize winning high school.