Defying national trends, more women on Guam entering STEM fields

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National statistics show that women only make up 28% of the workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, collectively called STEM, and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college.

The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.

However, on Guam, the reverse is true and college enrollment of women in STEM fields tell a different story.

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Dr. Romina King, a UOG professor in geography and director of NASA Grant Guam, says that in Guam, the number of women enrolled in STEM courses is interesting as it somewhat differs from the national statistics.

“The college of natural and applied sciences, the school of health, and school of engineering are the STEM colleges. For all three, 58% of the students are women. In Sea Nast, 53% are female and 47% are male. For school of health, 74% of students are female and 26% are male. The college of engineering is different. Women make up the minority. 24% of the engineering students are female and 76% are male,” King said.

Juliana Flores Baza, product engineer at Nike who was a speaker at the International Day of Women and Science virtual presentation, shared some of her experience as a woman, particularly a minority woman working in STEM fields.

“Sometimes, you’re at the table and you’re talking in a meeting and you will say something that is a solution for the problem. Nobody says anything, but when a man comes in and says the same thing you said, then they listen to him. This happens all the time,” Baza said.

Lexis Sablan, another speaker at the International Day of Women and Science presentation is a senior at Tiyan High School and one of the GTA youth leaders.

She was also the only female member of her robotics team who went to Dubai two years ago, winning 3rd place out of 192 countries in an international competition.

“STEM is a very diverse and broad area that can go to different areas and fields. You just have to find the right one that pertains to your passions,” Sablan said.

All three women feel that more female representation in STEM fields is definitely needed and they encourage others to not be afraid to enter the field, adding that STEM is diverse and can be found in everything we do.

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