Panel discusses struggles women face in STEM professions

By Alaina Bapp/reporter

TR Campus hosted a panel of women who have doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields March 20 as part of Women’s History Month to help inspire young women pursuing degrees in these fields.

The panel discussed struggles female students must overcome to enter these male-dominated professions.

“[Students] will find a sense of community support in the pursuit of a STEM career,” TR biology associate professor Sophia Esperanza Garcia said.

TR biology adjunct instructor and event coordinator Iris Duarte-Bazaldua discussed the college’s Latina STEM Fellowship, which encourages Hispanic women to pursue STEM degrees.

“The goal of the Latina STEM Fellowship is to support young women interested in STEM through skill building, education and career planning, and mentorship,” Duarte-Bazaldua said.

Panelists included Anupma Sharma, postdoctoral research associate for Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Claudia Morales, an engineer for Bell Helicopter; and Dotty Woodson, extension program specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

“By attending The Women in STEM panel discussion, we hope our students will gain real-world perspective from our three panelists,” Duarte-Bazaldua said.

Panelists spoke about their experience and the challenges of getting into their field and provided advice on how young women can overcome the obstacles they faced.

“This gave me more push to keep going,” TR student Paola Chavez said.