Beyoncé was right (of course): girls really do run the world. Or at least they’re trying to — according to a study conducted by Microsoft last year, 72 percent of girls polled said it was important to them to pursue jobs that positively impact the world. However, just 37 percent of them thought a career in STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) could help them achieve that goal. At One Medical, we know firsthand that this simply isn’t true; our STEM team members not only build the foundation for the company, but they enable us to live out our mission every single day, delivering high quality primary care.
And because men continue to outnumber women in these critical fields (despite the fact that girls perform just as well as boys in math and science), we believe it’s important to dismantle existing biases around gender stereotypes in STEM and encourage girls to pursue their educational and professional passions. That’s why in honor of this year’s International Day of The Girl (October 11), we’re talking with two of One Medical’s leaders, Chief Technology Officer, Kimber Lockhart, and Director of Analytics and Data Science, Alli Gilmore, about how they found success in STEM and why it’s crucial to support young women on the same path.
Tell us about your role at One Medical and how it falls under the STEM umbrella.
Kimber Lockhart: My role is Chief Technology Officer, which means I oversee One Medical's use of technology to support our members and providers. Our team does research, design, coding, configuration, support and analysis; all in support of the best possible experience!
Alli Gilmore: I lead the data science and analytics teams at One Medical. We use math — data analysis, statistics, machine learning, etc. — to help One Medical better understand and serve its members.
Why do you feel it's important to encourage girls to explore STEM?
KL: I believe working in STEM is engaging and rewarding, and a great way to make a difference in the world. I hope all young people — especially girls — have a chance to explore STEM careers so they can see past any negative stereotypes and perhaps discover a rewarding career that's perfect for them.
AG: The STEM fields are a fundamental part of a well-rounded education, as are the humanities, arts, and social sciences. It's important that girls and women feel welcome and supported in these fields so that they can develop the mathematical and scientific literacy they'll need throughout their lives. Many people also really enjoy studying STEM fields, and sometimes don't even realize it until they get started! Encouragement from mentors and peers helps people try things that might be outside their comfort zone. Whether that's an elementary school girl trying out a math circle or a professional woman going to a tech meet-up, these kinds of explorations help people discover what sparks their curiosity.
What are some ways you think adults can help encourage the young girls in their life to pursue a STEM education?
KL: Show STEM makes a difference. Far beyond video games, technology is the force shaping our future, and is a great platform for making a difference.
AG: There are so many ways to get kids excited about STEM — books, museums, extracurricular activities — but I think one thing adults often overlook is the way we talk about our own mathematical experiences and skills. When we are too self-deprecating about our own abilities — saying "I'm so bad at math" or "I could never understand that" — kids sometimes hear that they don't have to.
Anything else you’d like people to know about STEM?
KL: STEM is for all. "People people" can be great technologists too! In fact, we need introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between to help build effective teams.
AG: Studying STEM can lead you to so many different places. My STEM friends from high school and college are in academia, tech, healthcare, research, law, government, and plenty more. Some of them do a lot of technical work in their day-to-day and some do hardly any, but their STEM backgrounds are part of how they think and how they work regardless.
The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
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