17 Oct “Re-Imagining STEM”- A Kalpana
By: Dr. Arti Dumbrepatil, PhD
Kalpana is a Sanskrit word that means “creativity” and “imagination”.
Project Kalpana is being launched true to its essence of re-imaging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Kalpana stems from a desire to re-imagine the STEM field with increased participation and promotion of girls and women with creative mentoring. Women in STEM face more barriers including sexism, exclusion, culture (workplace as well as social), a significant lack of career progression. A big fraction of women in STEM has reported that their voices are devalued at work. More important is the fact that the drop-out rate for women in STEM fields is higher. Multiple factors contribute to this huge gender divide such as social-economic parameters, cultural hindrances, financial instability, lack of peer support, work-life balance. Given how the events of 2020 are reshaping the way we live, work, teach and learn it is more than ever important to support and promote women in STEM. We at Kalpana are daring to dream big and imagine a more inclusive STEM field. Learning from and conceding the experiences of women in STEM is necessary to develop and implement meaningful actions for change.
“We are born makers. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.” Brene BrownGirls, women need mentors who can be trusted to talk about work and research, but also about career paths and dreams. Kalpana aims to create a nurturing environment in which naïve dreams will flourish and support will be drawn from different mentors in society. We at Kalpana understand that different stages of careers require different mentorships, and the goal is to offer every participant with a relatable mentor. Everyone has a unique story of our struggles and success molded from our life experiences. Kalpana provides a platform to share these unique stories, to inspire others. We talk a lot about role models—someone to look up to, but not enough about mentors—someone to talk to. Academics of any gender have slowly started to think about mentoring, especially for women, as a crucial part of their jobs. From a school student to a scientist, mentorship is essential to develop oneself in the STEM profession. It is a set of skills that can and should be learned, practiced, and improved upon with self-reflection and feedback. Mentors inspire young minds with their accomplishments and encourage us to dream bigger and bolder. When girls are exposed to relevant, approachable, strong, female STEM role models, a career in the STEM field seems as attractive and attainable as any other. Mentorship helps to build self-confidence, boost communication skills, and enhance leadership qualities that will benefit girls not only throughout their careers but in life as well. Larger systemic changes take time, but this is our effort to re-imagine a new generation of STEM-professionals by increasing access, equity, and inclusion in STEM. Kalpana will bring out inspiring stories of STEM professionals who are involved in the mentoring program. Our mentoring program sets up a precedent for an innovative relationship between the mentors and the mentees.
#WomenInSTEM #eachforequal #stem4her #sheforstem #STEM