Miss Boise and STEM

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!

Discover STEM Day at Boise State

A few weeks ago Laura Hampikian, Miss Capital City, was able to volunteer at the Discover STEM Day at Boise State. "I volunteered with the Psychology Department, where I’m currently a graduate student in their Family Studies Certificate program. We taught kids and adults about conservation tasks. According to Wikipedia: “Conservation refers to a logical thinking ability which, according to the psychologist Jean Piaget, is present in children during the preoperational stage of their development at ages 4–5, but develops in the concrete operational stage at ages 7–11. Conservation refers to the ability to determine that a certain quantity will remain the same despite adjustment of the container, shape, or apparent size." She loved the interested so many young kids had in STEM and meeting the kids who outsmarted some of the tasks. Among all the kids that were there that day she made "a billion" friends. She said, "I think it’s an important feature of gender equality to encourage women and girls to go into STEM careers. I was thrilled to see so many of both young women and men interested in science, technology, engineering, and math!"