Attention Bobcats, there’s a new club on campus! Fem STEM Friends was created over winter break after a group of female-identifying students met virtually to discuss their experiences with gender discrimination on campus.
Fem STEM Friends is meant to help address these larger systemic issues, while also giving female-identifying students an opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The founding members of the club believe that female students interested in STEM have been lacking support from the Bates student body. Historically, fields in STEM have been dominated by men. According to the United States Census, only 27% of those working in STEM fields identify as female.
The club meets every Sunday on Zoom from 7-8 p.m. At these meetings, members discuss a wide range of topics that relate to women in STEM.
Isabella Sobolewski ‘23 and Daryla Lee ‘23 are co-presidents of Fem STEM Friends, and believe it is a safe space where members can share a love for STEM.
“The club is meant to be a low-stakes ‘group therapy’ time where members can discuss together, hear from fellow peers at Bates, and learn about inspiring female figures in science,” said Sobolewski.
She added, “we want to empower, educate, and inspire female-identifying Bates students pursuing studies in the field of STEM through reading literature and watching documentaries about notable women in STEM.”
In the future, the club would like to expand their membership and go out into the Lewiston-Auburn community to talk about STEM and gender issues with students.
Club leaders hope the group eventually becomes a mentoring program by helping students in the local school system that are female-identifying and interested in STEM to follow their passion and not give up.
Co-President Lee reflected on her own experiences studying science at Bates.
“By choosing both the psychology and biology major I am able to gain insight into the interactions of mind processes and bodily function. I feel this gives me a wider perspective and understanding of life on Earth and how people act and make choices,” she said.
Lee added, “Throughout my time at Bates I feel fortunate to have been surrounded and supported by female-identifying faculty who inspire me to delve deeper into my field of study and to break down gender gaps.”
The goal is to create a sense of community among female-identifying individuals in STEM at Bates.
You do not need to be a female-identifying individual or be a STEM major to join Fem STEM Friends. The club encourages any Bates student passionate or interested in learning more about the connection between women and STEM to join.