By Colleen Crino
Women have historically been underrepresented in the sciences and technology, and with that concept as a backdrop, the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute hosted the 5th annual Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Fair and Reception this week. The Women’s Congressional Policy Institute (formerly Women’s Policy, Inc.) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization whose mission is to bring women policymakers together across party lines to work on issues of importance to women and their families.
The fair featured exhibits of model STEAM programs for girls and women, and allowed Members of Congress and top sponsors of the event to share their thoughts about engaging girls and women in these fields. Invited guests included Members of Congress, congressional staff, corporate and labor supporters, representatives of women’s and STEAM organizations, and girls from local Girl Scout troops and Girls Inc. chapters.
CompTIA and Creating IT Futures team members joined our partner TechGirlz in discussing tech opportunities with parents and daughters attending the fair, and many families were glad to take a copy of How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM Education by Creating IT Futures CEO Charles Eaton.
Several women Congressional representatives spoke during the program, including Lois Frankel and Susan Brooks (co-chairs, Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues), Brenda Lawrence (vice-chair, Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues), Doris Matsui and Susan Delbene, who is a co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Internet of Things (IoT) Caucus, and comes from a background as a Microsoft executive. The Congresswomen emphasized the addition of the “A” to the STEAM Fair (previously STEM) to encourage an incorporated focus on arts and creativity as part of the mission.
As Congresswoman Delbene shared in her talk with the audience, “Innovation does not happen without creativity,” and “Technology and the skills you are learning are foundational.”
Adele Gulfo, EVP, global commercial development and chief strategy officer at Mylan Inc., also spoke, and shared that the percent of women in STEAM roles is still less than 25. As Gulfo shared, “We need to get women in the boardroom [to make decisions about future direction].”
Reporting from the fair, Colleen Crino joined the Creating IT Futures team this summer as its chief development officer, responsible for leading the strategies to develop revenue streams that support the continued growth of Creating IT Futures. Crino comes from a background of designing fundraising, marketing and loyalty strategy in both the non-profit and corporate world, with organizations such as the American Red Cross, American Express and Bank of America.