Designed to communicate the importance of women in the STEM workforce, the Women in STEM Luncheon and Style Show featured 11 student models along with Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier. The event encourages women to pursue a career in the STEM field and hopes to inspire others who are interested in following in their footsteps.
With the cancelation of the show last year, the College of Sciences and Mathematics were able to host another year of the event. All proceeds from the event go toward supporting all female students attending SFA, which helps provide scholarship funding within the major. Kimberly M. Childs, dean and professor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics and executive director, was inspired to start the event after attending a similar one about eight years ago.
“I attended a luncheon… sponsored by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The focus of the event was ‘Women in the Fast Lane of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” Childs said.
After attending the luncheon in Houston, Childs was determined to do something similar at SFA. Childs also wanted to help the students and their families be aware of the importance of encouraging all women at any age to engage in the disciplines that are needed in STEM.
“The event is our opportunity to send a message in the clearest way we can,” Childs said. Planning for the event normally starts the summer before the event, except for last year as planning had to be postponed. This included reaching out to Schrier becoming a two-year promise when Schrier was only Miss Virginia.
“I originally reached out to [Schrier] when … she received so much media attention by performing the ‘catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide’ as her talent,” Project Coordinator Kim Carmona said.
Even after winning the title of Miss America 2020, SFA was able to continue the contract with Schrier to be the keynote speaker this year, as since then she has used her platform to speak up about everything the luncheon stands for.
“Her message is so inspiring and this year, more than ever, was the perfect time for us all to hear about her journey as a woman in STEM,” Carmona said.
Before the event, Schrier had the chance to talk with the press about her platform and how important her speaking at SFA was.
“I was excited… that someone across the country was interested in having a female STEM representative in Miss Virginia come and give this keynote speech,” Schrier said.
Even after transitioning into the new role, Schrier was still more than happy to travel down and talk about her experiences with other women in STEM.
“Being a seat titleholder, whether or not you’re Miss Texas or Miss Virginia, you get the opportunity to do the same job as Miss America, just on a smaller scale… there’s really not a limit to what you can do in your state role. You just potentially get a larger platform to do it as Miss America because of getting that recognition that’s been around for so long,” Schrier said.
The luncheon is meant for the public and serves as a way to empower many for the future.
“I hope people leave the Women in STEM Luncheon with encouragement about their own future, admiration for the speaker and STEM majors represented on stage, and curiosity on how they can be a part in the Women in STEM initiative,” Carmona said.
The event is open for anyone who advocates for all women in the STEM workforce and who wants to show their support along with listening to fellow advocates and their message. “The luncheon is a wonderful time for the university and community to come together to celebrate the success of women in STEM,” Childs said.