While demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) talent continues to grow, the number of women and minorities employed in STEM fields remains small. Change the Equation estimates that women hold just 28 percent of STEM positions in the US and women of color hold less than 20 percent of STEM jobs.
Booz Allen is committed to closing the STEM gender gap and building the strongest, most diverse pipeline of future STEM talent. One way we’re doing so is through STEM Girls 4 Social Good (SG4SG) and our partnership with Girls Inc. DC’s STEM + Leadership Academy.
SG4SG aims to bridge the talent gap in these growing fields by inviting young women to learn STEM concepts while exploring issues affecting our society. It uses a cascading mentorship model that supports women and girls at key stages in their lives, addressing the common “opt-out” points where girls and women abandon STEM. Our goal is to build enthusiasm and interest in the many options a career in STEM can offer.
For one week, Booz Allen employees and summer interns host a learning experience designed to give girls hands-on experience in STEM while addressing a real-world, social good challenge. At the beginning of the week, a challenge is introduced. Participants are exposed to the full lifecycle of problem solving – from deconstructing the problem to designing and building a solution. Using their new-found STEM knowledge, the girls develop possible solutions, thereby promoting social good and inspiring them to see themselves as problem solvers, community leaders, and change agents.
By engaging young girls, college-aged women, female STEM professionals, and senior-level practitioners, SG4SG deepens STEM interest and confidence at all ages, while building connections among women in STEM. In surveys conducted before and after the event, girls reported greater interest in STEM-related coursework and careers. 79% believed they could be good at STEM subjects. We also saw greater offer to acceptance rates for interns as full-time hires, and increased volunteer engagement of employees. A full 100 percent of interns who volunteered for SG4SG said their involvement strongly increased their desire to work for Booz Allen.