Girls Inc. STEM summit sets the stage for success

Girls Incorporated’s annual STEM summit provided the perfect opportunity to expand and enrich an event encouraging girls to pursue careers in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Participating Lynn teenagers spent last Friday in the nonprofit’s big yellow building conducting experiments and talking to women scientists and engineers. The day provided the girls with a glimpse into their futures contingent on their ability to stay in school and continue to receive mentoring opportunities like the ones Girls Inc. is so adept at providing.

The women professionals who took part in the summit know they play valuable roles influencing academic and career decisions and preparing a new generation of girls to pursue STEM careers.

Lynn is extremely fortunate to count Girls Inc. among an array of nonprofits providing services to local residents. Girls Inc. showed its commitment to the city when it launched a prodigious fundraising campaign and moved from Nahant Street to the base of the Highlands.

The move gave new life to the historic school building that sat empty and in danger of arson for years. The girls who flock to High Street weekdays after school know the distance from their homes and schools to Girls Inc. is a short one. But the distance from dreams to realities is much longer. And the path from start to finish winds through high school, college and making a good start on a productive career.

Girls Inc.’s women leaders and mentors understand self esteem building is the starting point and the objective behind the organization’s programs and initiatives. That is why STEM professionals converged last Friday to provide examples to girls. That is also why newly-minted graduates from Lynn high schools could play valuable roles in next year’s STEM summit.

Many of the top honors students who graduated this week are young women setting their sights on science, engineering and medical careers. Some are the big sisters or older cousins of girls who walk up to the facility daily.

Imagine if Class of 2017 students included accomplished women who spent a day at Girls Inc. talking about school and studying and telling girls how to apply to college and choose the sciences as a career path.

Teenagers can look at successful men and women and say, “I want to be like her or him.” But finding a role model in someone who is only a few years older than you is like looking into a mirror and, maybe, seeing your future.

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