Pink PVIT and WISE Pave the Way for Women Engineers

John Kim, Writer

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STEM has long been a male-dominated field, and although there has been a recent increase of women in STEM, women are still undoubtedly a minority in it.

Some of the problems stem from the fact that girls have quite limited exposure to STEM, eliminating the possibility of their entrance into the field. Nevertheless, there are people in PV High who seek to change this status quo.

Lorraine Norris, the advisor of Pink PVIT and WISE Club, thinks exposing girls to STEM at a young age to let them understand what engineering is and what they can do with it is extremely important.

She believes that these girls should be supported by adults and their peers to encourage them to explore the field of STEM, and she wants girls to seriously consider STEM subjects as their college majors. These ideas culminated into Pink PVIT.

While Pink PVIT is an extension of PVIT, there is also a club named Women In Science and Engineering (WISE).

WISE has been brought back to life this year to champion the cause of women in STEM.

Members of Pink PVIT are (though not limited to) girls interested in STEM areas who want to share their experience with other fellow females scientists in the male-dominated field of STEM.

“Being in PVIT sometimes feels frustrating because engineering is a male-dominated industry. Pink PVIT allows me to bond with other girls over things that may not come up in normal PVIT hours,” sophomore Alice Min said.

Min, a female enthusiast in science and math, joined Pink PVIT because she was intrigued and provoked by the idea of a female engineering team.

“I never had any prior experience to engineering in middle school or elementary school, and I felt that other girls would be in the same boat.”

As a member of Pink PVIT, Min was able to enjoy the opportunity to learn basic elements of engineering, such as maneuvering power tools and learning STEM jargons, providing her with helpful, productive experience that also aided her in regular PVIT. Others have joined the team with similar intentions.

“Through Pink PVIT, I was hoping to meet other girls who were interested in studying STEM and start a project that would have a sustainable impact,” senior Hana Meroth, the president of WISE, said.

Meroth has long been a strong advocate for women in STEM, so when she heard about Pink PVIT last year, she was immediately interested and joined the team.

As a member of a unique team, she has a special feeling of commitment, too.

“I think it’s really important for girls to be able to have an environment where they can feel supported and encouraged…being in WISE is extremely meaningful to me because I can be a part of providing that environment to other girls,” Meroth said.

Currently, Pink PVIT is embarking on a new mission. As a part of their Sunday meetings, the team is planning to build a power-generating bicycle, which would be used to charge phones and laptops in the school library. The idea was first presented by librarian Ashley Brockman, who wanted to provide something that could grant active learning experience to kids in the library.

However, Pink PVIT and WISE are looking to do more. The team intends to start holding lunch-time meetings within a few weeks with an aim to provide STEM-interested girls with an environment where they could meet and interact with others like them. Moreover, they will be able to learn about scholarship opportunities and talk to professional female scientists, engineers, and doctors (e.g. about their experience as females in a male-dominated field).

“They can come and do an engineering project or have some experience in our lab using some of the equipment to give them exposure to what engineering is,” Norris said.

Through Pink PVIT, she hopes to contribute to changing the status quo: she wants more girls to explore the field of engineering and get support from others while doing so.

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