2024 Legislative Reception for Nebraska State SEnators

Nebraska Women in STEM and Beyond School Bells hosted a legislative reception to highlight the importance of diversity in Nebraska’s STEM industries.

On Mon., Feb. 12, Nebraska Women in STEM and Beyond School Bells held a legislative reception for state senators to learn about the importance of increasing the number of women in STEM careers and strategies to recruit and retain women and girls.  

Bio Nebraska Assistant Director Sasha Forsen greeted the legislators and staff and shared that only 25 percent of Nebraska’s STEM workforce are women, and that given the large number of STEM job openings in our state, we need to focus on recruiting more girls and women into these fields to fill the jobs and strengthen our economy.

Beyond School Bells Program Director Lauren Clark shared information on out of school programming that is engaging and inspiring girls in STEM, including Million Girls Moonshot (MGM) and the Flight Crew program. MGM is a national initiative of the STEM Next Opportunity Fund aiming to engage more young girls in out-of-school time STEM learning. Flight Crew is a national youth leadership council made up of young women ages 13-18 with a passion for afterschool STEM learning.

Introductions were followed by a panel moderated by Nebraska Cures’ Executive Director Amanda McGill Johnson. The panel included Lincoln High School Senior Caitlynn Abraham, University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Engineering Assistant Director of Recruitment and Retention Maggie Miller, and Don’t Panic Labs Education Program Manager Malika Yadgarova.

Abraham shared her experience as a Flight Crew member and her observations about the obstacles facing teen girls interested in STEM. Miller shared the Women in Engineering Program at UNL, including the support the program creates to recruit and retain women. The program is in its second year and has a 100 percent retention rate so far. Yadgarova told senators about the software development career pathway available at Don’t Panic Labs. Their partnership with Doane helps adults who had previous careers transition into software development. It is a great fit for some women looking for increased work life balance or higher income.