On May 11, Dr. Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves, associate professor and interim department co-chair of Teaching and Learning, provided the keynote address at Up & Atom, a women’s leadership fundraising initiative supporting the Science Museum of Virginia.
Held in the museum’s rotunda, the event, now in its seventh year, is designed to raise awareness of the gender gap that exists in STEM education, and acknowledge the Science Museum of Virginia’s role in helping bridge that gap.
"If you were to take 100 individuals who earned bachelor’s degree in the United States in 2012, only about five of those degrees were awarded to engineers,” Hargraves said in her remarks. “Only one of those five degrees in engineering was earned by a woman, and only one in every 20 of those women was a black woman.
"If we are going to solve the challenges we face, we need to tap into the greatest natural resource we have — our diversity."
“Does it matter that only one in every 2,000 bachelor’s degrees earned went to a black woman in engineering? I hope we all agree the answer is a resounding yes.”
In addition to Hargraves’ address, the Up & Atom fundraiser included a video presentation from the Saint Gertrude High School All-Girls Robotic Team, and an address from Millwood School fifth-grader Claire Hollingsworth titled, “Why I Love the Science Museum of Virginia.”
The event also coincided with the opening of the museum’s newest exhibit, “Speed,” which houses an SR-71 Blackbird jet and other interactive features showcasing everything from the evolution of common machines to the speed of sound and light.
Exhibits like these play key roles in encouraging STEM careers in children.
“It is up to us to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics relevant to children,” Hargraves said. “If we are going to solve the challenges we face, we need to tap into the greatest natural resource we have — our diversity. We need all of our children to have the STEM skills and inspiration to become tomorrow’s problem solvers.”