There’s a lot of talk about ways to enlarge the ranks of women and girls who take an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
A number of organizations in Texas are attempting to tackle the issue by raising awareness, building STEM networks, and organizing events focused on investing, entrepreneurship, and team-building.
For BioHouston leaders, highlighting the accomplishments of women in the sciences is an important part of boosting female participation in STEM careers. The organization held its sixth annual “Women in Science with Excellence” awards last week; a total of 24 women in energy, life sciences, and NASA have been honored for their leadership.
This year, the WISE awardees included Claire Farley, at private equity firm KKR; Ellen Gritz, professor of behavioral science at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; and Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and director of the Johnson Space Center.
BioHouston, which was founded 16 years ago and has for most of that time been led by women (first by Jacqueline Northcut and, now, Ann Tanabe.) The organization, which is dedicated to boosting the life sciences ecosystem in Houston and across Texas generally, has also placed an emphasis on boosting gender diversity within the sector in the last five years.
In addition to the WISE awards, BioHouston is working on collaboration with the Girl Scouts to seek out best practices to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.