Adventist Education Pilots a Women in STEM Conference Initiative

"If you find something you feel passionately about, pursue it with all your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too young or inexperienced to make it happen.” — Lauren Kulokas, engineer and entrepreneur

The North American Division piloted a Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) conference initiative in partnership with Ophelia Barizo, Ph.D., the STEM coordinator at the Chesapeake Conference, on April 19, 2019, at Spencerville Adventist Academy in Silver Spring, Maryland. Middle and high school students were invited to participate in the conference that included a panel of women from government agencies and the private sector who are leaders in the field of STEM.

Dr. Mamood Saltana (NASA Chemical Engineer), Janet Beaton (NSA Areospace Engineer), Dr. Sharon Koh-Fallet (FDA Chemist), Dr. Adrianne Norwood (Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Mathematician), Dr. Danielle Kroll (FDA Scientist and GWU Oncologist), and Dr. Ramona Swaby (Merck Cancer Researcher) served on a panel to explore their experiences, insights, and high points in their careers with young women hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Introductions are made at the Women in STEM conference, during which a panel of women from government agencies and the private sector who are leaders in the field of STEM spoke to middle and high school students.

Some of the advice from the event included working hard and being persistent, not being afraid of failure, surrounding yourself with "good people," looking for mentors, and letting God guide you. One participant said that "God will do amazing things with your life if you let Him."

The presenters highlighted the unique challenges in their fields as well as the unique contributions they make every day. Presenters also outlined the processes and procedures for securing internships in their organizations.

The National Science Foundation reports that STEM employment continues to grow at a faster pace than other occupations and yet not all Americans have equal access or equal representation in STEM fields. In fact, even though women make up half the population they account for under 30 percent of participation in STEM related careers.

Parents of the attendees were excited about the potential internship opportunities and the impact of the STEM presenters as role models for their daughters. One parent expressed that their daughter "never talks about what happens at school but came home and couldn't stop talking about the Women in STEM presentation. The trajectory of her career options has totally changed."

"The students who attended the event are highly intelligent and motivated students who are looking for ideas of where and how they can best direct their talents and energy in STEM fields," said Leisa Morton-Standish, Ph.D., director of Elementary Education for Adventist Education in North America. "The objective of this event is to expose young women to potential careers in STEM fields and to provide more opportunities such as this to our students across North America."

This article originally appeared on the NAD website.

Image: A student asks the panel of women from government agencies and the private sector, who are leaders in the field of STEM, questions at Spencerville Adventist Academy on April 19, 2019. Photos by Alina Weber, courtesy of NAD website.

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Women can not product sperm. men can not produce eggs. Other that that in skills, knowledge, and career choices the field is level. The fact that a women is the president of one of the Adventist flagship universities destroys Ted’s headship aruguments.


Tom –
Pastor Ted DID NOT say women cannot be in leadership positions [such as
University Presidents], JUST NOT leadership position of the “old country
church in the wildwood”.
He might be afraid the Woman will be TOO SUCCESSFUL and will have
to build a BIGGER church for an increased congregation membership!!! in
“the wildwood”.
And that would not be FAIR to the Men who are NOT as successful in
presenting Jesus to THEIR community.


lol…no, not fair to the men at all who have a monopoly in the leadership positions! :wink:

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What a fantastic idea and Conference! So wonderful to see younger women who are being encouraged to go into STEM…so many careers could be influenced by attending.


Have you all seen the movie “Hidden Figures”? The untold story of Katherine
Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – brilliant African American
women working in NASA who served as the brains behind the launch into
orbit of astronaut John Glenn. This stunning achievement turned around the
Space Race.
This visionary trio crossed all gender and racial lines.
It is really a very special movie and should be shown in ALL SDA schools and

One of the great achievements of their working on the launching was the
integration of the Women Bathrooms at Nasa. No more “Black” and “White”
women bathrooms.


I did see that movie…it was fantastic! Everyone should see the movie for a variety of reasons and I agree that it should be shown in schools everywhere. What those women did under the duress of racial discrimination and their sex was incredible.


The book was very good, too. And more detailed, of course.

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One of the constant cries, probably across many western countries, is that we have a shortage of stem teachers. Is it a coincidence that the number of male teachers keeps dropping year after year.

Perhaps it would assist girls who want a career in stem, to spend some money to convince men that teaching isn’t a feminised profession, so that we have enough quality teachers to teach these girls. As we already know, ignoring half the potential pool of people is a bad idea in all respects.


Were there any male GC representatives present in the STEM conference to encourage our up and coming female church leaders? Impressive credentials from presenters deemed by our current church leaders to be inadequate to serve as president of our denomination.


Andrew –
There is “Teacher Burnout” in a lot of places.
For various reasons.

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Yes, it would be worth reading!

No doubt but men aren’t even signing up anymore.

If one is a true STEAMer…there is much more money to be made outside of the teaching profession which could be one big reason why there might be fewer and fewer every year. The more “prestigious” teaching positions are generally at the college/university level where you will find them populated by mostly men (though this is slowly changing). My husband’s current company was founded by 2 Indian men who are world-known and teach at Harvard (even in their 70’s).

My husband has worked nearly his entire career in various capacities in the biopharmaceutical field which is highly populated by males. There has been an increase in females over time…with many coming from Asia and India which have promoted STEM for decades. He says that there are also more females entering the Science/Math fields in the Western Countries due to promoting of the STEM curriculums and more opportunities for work.

In general, the teaching profession is a Middle Class proposition which does offer good benefits but the “big” money for STEMers isn’t going to be there. Also, it isn’t necessary to have a Master’s degree to have a viable science/math career which many/most teaching positions require. Lots of factors…

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Hear! Hear!

Hear! Hear!


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