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Science council aims to support women in STEM at USU

Attendees at Women in STEM day talking at a booth.
Anna Johnson
Several clubs and organizations across campus set up booths to meet with students at Women in STEM day.

“It’s been an entire journey.”

Bethany Christensen is studying computer science at Utah State University, which makes her a woman in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. She said while she's noticed an increase in events for women in STEM fields at USU, connecting with other women isn’t always easy.

“It was hard finding other women in STEM, especially in the College of Science,” she said.

According to USU, in fall 2020, 55.5% of students enrolled at the university were women. Despite being the majority overall, women are underrepresented in the College of Science, making up about one out of every three students.

USU’s Science Council has been trying to make up for that difference by putting on Women in STEM night.

“I think there are not a lot of these kinds of events. I think it was important for them and me to show that we have those awesome women on campus,” said Gabriella Cale, USU's Science Senator.

She said women have a different perspective than men and bring something new to the table, “I definitely think we have different perspectives and I think the way we work through our degrees is probably going to be different than men. Being a woman and wanting to have a family we also have a very different perspective, especially doing higher education.”

“With more perspectives, you get more elaborate and more complicated solutions, more things that will help more people,” Christensen agreed.

Jaxton Winder, a member of the science council, said he has seen how prevalent casual sexism is within STEM fields and that the science council wanted to change that.

“It is just a problem with, frankly, the world's culture, especially with women in professional positions. And unfortunately here at Utah State, we are not immune from that. If someone is actually interested in learning more about that, they just need to talk to some women in STEM,” he said.

When reached for comment, USU said several departments across campus were working on gender inclusion in their programs.

Anna grew up begging her mom to play music instead of public radio over the car stereo on the way to school. Now, she loves radio and the power of storytelling through sound. While she is happy to report on anything from dance concerts to laughter practice, her main focus at UPR is political reporting. She is studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and wants to work in political communication after she graduates. In her free time, she spends time with her rescue dog Quigley and enjoys rock climbing.