On Friday, April 22, 2017, Ms. Michele Kay, Learning Enhancement Coordinator and Guidance Counselor, brought ten Gilmour girls to the City Club of Cleveland to attend a forum titled “Bridging the Divide: Women, Innovation, and STEM.”
Dr. Evalyn Gates and Dr. Janet L. Kavandi, a physicist from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Director of NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center, respectively, both spoke during the forum about their STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers.
They discussed the prejudices they faced and overcame in their studies and in their career paths, offering inspiration and advice to the aspiring scientists and mathematicians in the audience.
Emma Kaplan (`19) said that this experience provided her with “a newfound sense of motivation and determination to advance in a STEM career.”
Gates and Kavandi shared that persistence and determination are key when overcoming and discarding preconceived notions and biases. Both noted how social progress is being made and is already underway.
“Hearing about the adversity the speakers overcame was impactful,” according to Claudia Winslett (`18). The forum gave her “inspiration to never give up,” even if considered a minority in STEM fields.
All ten Gilmour girls in attendance walked out of the forum excited to take on their futures. Kaplan said, “I encourage everyone to attend as many forums and conferences as possible. Many topics discussed throughout forums can become a listener’s boost of motivation that they needed!”
Not only were these girls inspired and motivated to lead in their futures, but they also received an opportunity to take on a leadership role in the same day.
After the forum, the girls visited the Kids’ Book Bank to drop off the 14 cartons of children’s books that were collected in a book drive initiated by Ms. Kay’s advisory. The Kids’ Book Bank has a mission to provide books to children in need so that they can have a strong foundation in reading and learning.
Gilmour provides the competence to see what needs to be done and courage to take action through opportunities such as these, leaving this group of girls with an impactful afternoon.