From the Executive Director's Desk: Become a Mentor. Join the Million Women Mentors Initiative

Million Women Mentors (MWM) is a collaboration of more than 58 partners, 30 sponsors with 30+ state leadership teams.The Million
Photo Courtesy: Muller Elem Magnet (Twitter Feed)
Women Mentors Leadership Council is chaired by Cisco, PepsiCo, Sodexo, and Tata Consultancy Services. To date, over 300,000 pledges to mentor girls and women in STEM have been made on their website (www.millionwomenmentors.org). The program is reaching over 30 million girls and women across the U. S. MWM supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors (male and female) to increase the interest and confidence of girls and women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.

In August, Florida joined the ranks of the leadership teams when Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) pledged to mentor 500 young girls in the district schools. The plan is to mentor five girls at the 100 schools who signed up to support the project. Each Tampa mentor will spend 20 hours with its mentee/s either in person at the school, online, or however they work out.  Other recommended methods of mentoring include paid internships and apprenticeships, workplace mentoring at a company, and through sponsorships. Anyone interested in mentoring can connect through the MWM web portal directly with a MWM partner including HCPS. It’s simple to sign up and simple to report your effort. One volunteer mentor at a time, HCPS hopes to start changing lives of young girls and women by providing guidance, examples, experience, and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mentoring can help build confidence in young women to know their capabilities and be proud and strong so they will persist in careers that are often male-dominated.

MWM, together with the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Award program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) are
Photo Courtesy: MWM Facebook Page
just two of many important programs
focused on improving the numbers of women in STEM careers. Both use role models as a key ingredient and both are founded on building community, and building relationships. FLATE strongly supports both programs by encouraging companies to nominate their female employee(s) for the STEP Ahead awards, celebrating those Florida STEP awardees, providing its own resources for supporting girls in STEM, and encouraging all its stakeholders, male and female, young and old to be engaged in these, highly visible ongoing programs that provide young girls encouragement and confidence to pursue the rewarding careers and lifestyles of STEM professionals.

Sign up to become a mentor at www.millionwomenmentors.org, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org and Julie Kantor at Julie.Kantor@STEMconnector.org.

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in the September edition of the FLATE Focus. This edition is heavily focused on our statewide efforts and engagement with Manufacturing Day 2015. Do read the story and get involved in whatever way you can. In this edition we also highlight some of our partners’ and their successes in different capacities….do reach out and send them your kudos too. To wrap up 2015 summer robotics camp season, we also have a story about the statewide camps that took place earlier this summer and the impact it had on all the campers across the state.

These and many more stories in this edition of the FLATE Focus. Send us your thoughts, comments, questions at news@fl-ate.org, or tweet us @Made_InFlorida using the official hastag of the month #MFGday2015.