One of my favorite hats (crowns?) that Miss America wears is her position as an advocate for women in STEM education. As a girl who grew up loving the arts, and eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, I might not seem like the obvious choice as an ambassador for science, technology, engineering, and math. But, as fate would have it, a recent shift in my career path has stuck me smack dab in the middle of a male-dominated STEM-based work field. Starting as a new weather forecaster was daunting enough, but when I learned I was the only full time female weather anchor in the Boise television market, I was downright intimidated! Catching up on the science behind the forecasts I put together every day was an uphill battle, and it made me wish I had a strong female role model growing up that would have encouraged me to dig a little deeper into the STEM career fields, I just might have found my love for weather a little sooner.
I recently partnered with Mathnasium, a math only learning center that tutors students of all ages in ways that make sense to them and learned what a wonderful place it was to foster budding STEM fanatics like myself! I was lucky enough to attend the ribbon cutting of their new location in Boise this past week and take a tour of the incredible Micron 60’ STEM Mobile Discovery Lab with some of their students. It was such a fun afternoon of learning and laughing! I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of the push to get more girls involved in STEM careers, because equal treatment and pay in the workplace begins with equal education and training. I think President Obama said it best in his address at Boise State University in January, “When we've got everybody on the field, that’s when you win games. I mean, think about if we had as many young girls focused and aspiring to be scientists and astronauts and engineers. That’s a whole slew of talent that we want to make sure is on the field.” I am looking forward to using the scholarship money I earn through my year of service as Miss Boise to pay for the meteorology certification program that I start this fall, and continue to be a proud advocate for STEM education and female scientists everywhere!