STEM TALENT GIRL
Organisation: ASTI Talent & Technology Foundation
ASTI Talent & Technology foundation is the entity stablished by ASTI Tech Group to develop programs to improve society through technology and talent. The business group, headed by Verónica Pascual, is specialized in mobile robotics being the European leader in AGV technology for the number of sold units as for the number of produced models.
Veronica Pascual initiative drives the foundation to develop STEM Talent Girl as an answer to the low rates of female students in STEM. The industry is immersed in the fourth industrial revolution where technology is involving everything, making STEM knowledge more important than ever. This concept and the lack of women in this kind of studies, foresee a tough future for females confronting a great gender gap. The program is aimed to educate, inspire and empower the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and maths. It is a longitudinal program that accompanies the girls from Secondary school, up to the first years at work, accompanying different stages in the women development. This characteristic differentiates the program from the rest, making it unique.
The program is divided into three sub programs with different activities according to the girls age and their necessities. The first step, Science for her, is addressed to girls studying their 3rd and 4th year in secondary school. It is a critical moment, girls lose their interest on science while they have to select their studying options according to their university preferences. We offer them different activities such as a talent search, which is a test to identify the cognitive abilities of the participants. The results show their main strengths, empowering them by highlighting their capacities. We offer the girls shadowing sessions, where a professional woman shares with the girls her working time, so the students can experience a job in science. We also program scientific workshops top practice with technology. Other difficulty is the absence of female role-models. To provide them references, we organize masterclasses in a monthly basis where relevant women in the industry share their experiences and expertise in science.
The last of the activities is related with events to meet professionals and other girls and therefore, to start working on their own networks. The next step, mentor woman, is aimed to girls in their bachillerato. At this time, they have already chosen their studies and they do not need as much impacts as before. We challenge them to work on an entrepreneurial or scientific project.
We have built a community with 300 professional women who offer their time and knowledge to perform as mentors. According to the mentor expertise and the topic of the student’s project we match a mentor with a student. They work along the course on the project with monthly mentoring sessions. Finally, the students present their work in front of a jury.
The last part of the program is aimed at girls in their last years of university, real work. We put in contact students and companies with specific talent needs. The added value we offer to them both is knowledge. We provide the required training to the students, so they can get immediately incorporated in the company. The program started three years ago in Burgos, the next edition was running in two additional cities, Santander and Valladolid and this third edition we count with nine different locations: Burgos, Valladolid, Santander, León, Salamanca, Segovia, Ávila, Asturias and Madrid. After these three editions we count with 1.200 students, a community with 300 women-mentors, we have organized more than 100 masterclasses with 20.000 attendants, 36 technological workshops with more than 1000 participants. We have arranged more than 400 shadowing sessions and we have been able to gather 500 participants in the first STEM Talent Girl summit held for the first time on March, 2019
What impact has the initiative had or is expected to have?
The impact we are looking for is to get those students fully aware of the STEM studies, what they represent at this very moment in the industry. Get them to know the kind of jobs they can develop after fulfilling STEM education. And let them know that they can develop a brilliant career and being a woman. So far, 100% of the students have applied for university studies related with STEM. Our goal is to spread the program along Spain and Europe. To offer the girls fully knowledge of the needs and the possibilities to let them choose their preferences. In these three years we have experienced growth rates of 300%. Our strategic plan establishes the constant growth of the program around Spain, getting internationalized by 2020 with a European site. We also have as objective the creation of a digital platform to put in contact students and mentors from all over the world. This has been possible with the collaboration of public and private entities who see this gender gap as a global and a feasible threat. Some of the most relevant KPIs achieved in these three years are: 1.200 students, 300 women-mentors, over 100 master classes with 20.000 attendants, 36 technological workshops with more than 1.000 participants, over 400 shadowing sessions and the first STEM Talent Girl summit with 500 participants.
What is unique about this initiative? Can it be scaled-up and replicated in other places?
What makes this initiative unique is the time covered in the women’s life. We meet the women-to-be when they are 13 or 14 and we accompany them along their adolescence and youth until they finish their university studies. With the program we detect the talent at early ages and accompany it to prevent the talent from being wasted. Other thing quite unique regarding the program is the network we build around it which involves, the educational community, the local industries, the public entities and professional women from all around the world. At this moment we count with the collaboration of relevant companies, both public and private, such as: L’Oréal, CNIO or MEH. To arrange the masterclasses, we count with the collaboration of professionals such as Verónica Pascual Boé (ASTI Technologies group CEO), Rosa García (ex-SIEMENS general manager), Pilar López (Microsoft) Marta Fernández (IBM) or Helena Hierro (HP) among others.