The Atlanta Science Festival is highlighting women in STEM through more than 80 events focused on the impact women have on the industry.

Atlanta Science Festival, the city’s premier celebration of all things science, returns March 13 to 27. Among more than 80 events are many spotlighting the impact women have on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Women remain a strong voice in the scientific community through innovation and advancements,” executive co-director of Science ATL Meisa Salaita said. “We take great pride in highlighting this fact with events taking place throughout the Festival.”

Despite the fact the women make up more than half the U.S. college-educated workforce, only 28% of women work in STEM-related fields. Only 21% of engineering students and 19% of computer science majors are women.

Parents and teachers can also underestimate girls’ math skills. According to a study by the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics, by third grade, many girls loose confidence in their math skills while boys gain confidence.

“Young girls need to know that they CAN be scientists, and that many women in these careers are here to help support and mentor them on this fantastic journey,” Georgia State senior lecturer in geosciences and paleontologist Christy Visaggi said.

The STEM field is also portrayed as a masculine and male dominated field, so women see fewer female role models in STEM. Pop culture, books and media also tend to portray scientists and engineers as men.

“Too often scientists are portrayed in the movies and on TV as men,” Visaggi said. “Too often science-based clothing and toys are only marketed to boys. Too often in the history books, when it comes to important contributions made by scientists, you don’t hear about women. But you know what? Women DO go into STEM careers. Women HAVE made incredible contributions and still do!”

“When you are learning science in school, the scientists you learn about (Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin) are all men,” Georgia State University graduate student Rachael Merritt said. “This gives a very skewed view of the reality of science. Women being a visible example of scientists encourages girls because it shows them that scientists look like them and allows them to maintain their interest in STEM as they get older because they are being shown these topics are for them.”

Atlanta Science Festival events featuring topics related to and featuring inspiring women in STEM, include:

Dr. Temple Grandin presents The Outdoor Scientist

Tune in to join New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned scientist Dr. Temple Grandin for a presentation and discussion of her new book, “The Outdoor Scientist: The Wonder of Observing the Natural World.” In the book, Dr. Grandin introduces young readers to leading scientists of the day, shares insights from her life, and includes 40 interactive outdoor projects to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around them.

♦ Date/Time: 7 p.m. Monday, March 22

♦ Cost: Free

♦ Location: Virtual

Women in STEM: Learning from Monumental Leaders

If statues could speak, what would they say? Find out at this interactive panel discussion, featuring successful women in various STEM careers from across the U.S. Each will be featured in the largest display of female statues in the world, scheduled to be unveiled later this year in Dallas, Texas. These phenomenal women will be covering topics like the plethora of opportunities in STEM; how to prepare for these types of careers; the importance of the female perspective in STEM; strategies to succeed in environments where you may be “the only one”; and many more.

Panelists include Paula Garcia Todd (pharmaceutical scientist); Erika Hamden (professor and telescope builder); Ronda Hamm (entomologist); Samantha Wynns (conservation biologist); Gracie Ermi (research software engineer); Beatris A. Mendez Gandica (Microsoft project manager); Olivia Castellini (exhibit developer); Magan Lewis (plant scientist); and Erika Kurt (superbug expert).

♦ Date/Time: 6:30 p.m. March 16 and 11 a.m. March 20

♦ Cost: Free

♦ Location: Virtual

COVID-19 Vaccines and Disparities in Black Communities: What You Need to Know

Join Dr. Zanthia Wiley, Emory Infectious Diseases specialist and Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship at Emory University Hospital Midtown, for a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines. Wiley will discuss COVID-19 vaccine truths, myths, and the importance of vaccination. She will also discuss the disproportionate effect that COVID-19 is having in minority communities. Wiley will answer questions submitted directly from the audience.

♦ Date/Time: 10 a.m. March 13.

♦ Cost: Free

♦ Location: Virtual

“These and other events give us the opportunity to not only showcase the role women play in science, but to inspire the female scientific thought leaders of tomorrow,” Salaita said.

For a full list of events and to purchase tickets, visit https://atlantasciencefestival.org.

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