BOTHELL, Wash. — A student at Bothell's North Creek High School is influencing fellow young women across the country with her student-led organization. At just 16-years-old, Caitlyn Widjaja is already dedicated to bridging the gender gap in STEM, the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Her organization Girl STEMinist is empowering more young women to consider careers in STEM through career exploration, collaboration and community. The group reaches young women in high school and college across the country and even across the globe through workshops that showcase the daily lives of female professionals.
Perfectly built for the virtual world, Girl STEMinist unites students online with job profiles, monthly newsletters featuring real opportunities and self-published Digital Journals that feature a wide range of STEM topics, experts and resources for personal development.
The first edition of the Digital Journal was published in February and features a collaboration of more than 20 young women from across the world. Editorial, Creative, Writers, Research and Outreach teams come together to create the Journal, which has already reached hundreds of young women who perhaps struggle to find the proper support for their interests in STEM.
Widjaja said she created the organization because of personal experience, “When I was younger, I had preconceived notions of what a scientist or a coder was. What I associated these roles with were men in white coats who had absolutely no other interest than science.”
That all changed when she attended a local women's coding camp and bonded with other females interested in STEM.
“I wanted to create the same community for others across the world who aren’t able to feel support locally within their schools and contribute to the mission of bridging the gender gap through a new perspective.”
Widjaja said she was inspired by the many other student-led organizations that have taken off over the past year. She said what makes Girl STEMinist unique is approaching this from a career standpoint.
“We emphasize showcasing professionals in STEM and different careers women can pursue, which ties back into how important representation is. Seeing these women in unique careers in science is definitely inspiring.”
Girl STEMinist is looking for more young women in high school and college to join the community. The staff team for the second issue of the Digital Journal is being formed and will focus on Healthcare. Next up is the fashion industry.
Each Digital Journal work period is three months. You can apply or read more about roles and responsibilities at www.girlssteminist.org.