NFHS STEM Program Prepares Girls for the Workforce


Sophomore Maggie Sullens works with a robot in one of North Forsyth High School’s various engineering classes.

Megan Hoffman, Staff Writer

Although we do not have a fixed STEM program here at North Forsyth, we offer a STEM mindset by incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in many other ways. Students can follow an engineering pathway or join one of the schools multiple science or technology clubs to receive the same benefits of the STEM program.

One of the most popular STEM related programs students at North can follow is the engineering pathway. The engineering pathway incorporates mathematics and sciences to teach students skills, techniques, and working conditions of professions related to different areas of technology.  By giving students hands-on experiences with robotics and machine-building, the program helps push many students to pursue a career with the same skills required.

Unfortunately, the STEM program has not always had its doors open to women. Even with the push for women to fill positions in science fields, it is still an issue due to sexism. From a young age, girls are not as commonly influenced to have a life as an engineer or a mathematician as a boy might be. Girls are misrepresented as something of innocence, with nails that are never meant to break and dainty hands that are not meant for building machines. Toys are commonly split up by gender, with boy’s toys leaning towards fighting and building things, and girl’s toys typically leaning towards nurturing and caring for things.

Even though our kids are brought up in a society where a girl in STEM is not necessarily a normal thing, girls in the STEM field are not an uncommon sight to see at North Forsyth. Many of these girls will plan to continue our school’s engineering and technology based classes, and most will head into the STEM field as a professional career.  While at NFHS, we do not have many (if any at all) setbacks for women in the program, but women will most definitely face setbacks in the actual work field. From the wage gap to gender-biased hirings, sexism in the workplace is inevitable for a woman.

Women still hold less than 25 percent of jobs in the STEM field. Even with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math, women are still less likely to receive or pursue an actual job in these areas. For example, only 17 percent of chemical engineers and 22 percent of environmental scientists are women.

Encouraging women to be a part of the STEM program is essential. Our very own engineering teacher Jodie Marshall has been praised by multiple students because of her exceptional ability to encourage girls who are in the STEM program. With common sexism and overall misogyny in the STEM work field, Ms. Marshall is one of the many amazing women who are helping turn the sexism around and make it a better workplace for women.

Here at North Forsyth, we take pride in the excellent young ladies who work everyday to become stronger intellectually. Our welcoming staff and hard-working students create a healthy environment for young women. More women need to be boosted in the direction of STEM, and more schools need to encourage young ladies to continue into STEM.