International Women’s Think Tank Seeds Grow STEM by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation
As a women of science I truly celebrated the International Women’s Day 2014 theme “Technology Leadership in the 21st Century Global Economy.” Throughout “Women’s Herstory Month,” I found myself in technological upgrades of the Gullah/Geechee Alkebulan Archive (www.gullahgeechee.net) which is the ONLY archive in the world totally dedicated to Gullah/Geechee history/herstory, language, traditions, and culture. Such opportunities allow me to continue to build on the technological foundation that was poured by my years of study as I obtained my degrees in mathematics and computer science. Those years involved engagement in various scientific endeavors including engineering. So, when I see STEM which stands for “science, technology, engineering, and math” I feel like someone has written out my middle name!
Interestingly enough, during Women’s Herstory Month, I came across an article with a new permutation of this abbreviation-STEAM. STEM has now gained so much steam that the artists want to be added to it. The “A” in STEAM stands for “arts.” As one who has spent her life using both sides of her brain by being a dancer, singer, and poet that also loved mathematical calculations, I thought that this addition was an interesting one. However, I know that more oft than not, the scientists and the artists stand on different sides when it comes to the systematic methods of science because the artist tends to see this as not fluid enough to allow the freedom to create. I am fortunate that I can see both sides and can be inspired by either side to create and to educate.
Such inspiration I found in the International Women’s Think Tank (www.iwthinktank.org) for which I have the privilege of serving as an advisor. Our focus is “promoting research. critical thinking, and innovative solutions on issues related to women and girls.” We truly believe that if you empower the women, you empower the world. So, the women that make up IWTT are those that are engaged in global empowerment on a daily basis. The recognition of this has come about in the recent inclusion of the IWTT Girl Let’s Build Program (www.girlsletsbuild.com) in the national STEM Directory called the “Coalition for Science After School Programs.” This directory is a zip code searchable database designed to help families and young people across the country to access informal science and technology opportunities in their communities. It was designed and implemented as a philanthropic initiative in partnership with Time Warner Cable’s “Connect a Million Minds” program (www.connectamillionminds.com).
As our girls and young ladies are inspired, not only can they become the next set of artists that build sets or dance on stages, but they can be the engineers, architects, and those creating the new formulas for the suspension of the beams and lights that become a part of the arenas in which productions are mounted. They will be the designers and medical innovators, mathematicians and technology creators of the future. So, IWTT is doing its part to begin as soon as possible working with our daughters to engage them in STEM by having summer programs that embody the name of the program-“Let’s Build!” I pray that some moms, grandmas, and aunties are inspired to enroll the young ladies in your life in these programs. Let us help plant more technological seeds in the minds of girls and young ladies so that these will stem into more female technology leaders for not only the 21st century, but many centuries to come! Come on sistahs and let’s build!
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) is the Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.gullahgeecheenation.com).
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- Tagged: and math, education, empowerment, engineering, Geechee, girls, Girls Let's Build, Gullah, Gullah/Geechee Nation, International Women's Think Tank, IWTT, Queen Quet, science, STEAM, STEM, technology, women, Women's History