IN2 Creates Female STEM Mentor-Matching Program

IN2 Creates Female STEM Mentor-Matching Program

  • Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Betty Hart Innovation Center program manager at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

IN2@IMSA presents, Girls IN2 STEM, a new, one-of-a-kind pipeline mentor matching program that allows female STEM champions across the globe to directly connect with female teens who are mentoring middle school girls all of which have a desire to learn more about STEM careers.

According to statistical research from the National Girls Collaborative Project women remain underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce, although to a lesser degree than in the past, with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering, computer science, and the physical sciences (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2016).

  • Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce.
  • Female scientists and engineers are concentrated in different occupations than are men, with relatively high shares of women in the social sciences (62 percent) and biological, agricultural, and environmental life sciences (48 percent) and relatively low shares in engineering (15 percent) and computer and mathematical sciences (25 percent).

For example:

  • 35.2 percent of chemists are women;
  • 11.1 percent of physicists and astronomers are women;
  • 33.8 percent of environmental engineers are women;
  • 22.7 percent of chemical engineers are women;
  • 17.5 percent of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers are women;
  • 17.1 percent of industrial engineers are women;
  • 10.7 percent of electrical or computer hardware engineers are women; and
  • 7.9 percent of mechanical engineers are women.

IN2@IMSA has been encouraged to focus on Global Grand Challenges which include societal needs such as quality education and this is one of many programs to come.

IN2 hopes to positively impact these low statistical numbers with our new program “Girls IN2 STEM” because the concept is simple — put girls in touch with people who look and think like them and make communication easy and accessible. Through our partnership with Illinois Science and Technology Institute, IN2 can offer global access to mentors and mentees and go beyond the classroom with their Mentor Matching Engine portal.

The pilot program officially begins February through April 2017, and IN2 hopes to conclude the year with a summit in May. IN2 is seeking supporters and sponsors for the summit. If you’d like to learn more on how to become a Female STEM Champion and be the change, contact Betty Hart at

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Betty Hart

Betty Hart

Innovation Center Program Manager at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy