About Gear Heads (Di-STEM)
What is a Gear Head?
Gear Heads is a given nickname to mechanical engineers by mechanical engineers. 😊
Gear Heads are builders, artists, explorers, creators, inventors, makers, dreamers, and more! You might find her making forts, playing with Legos, cutting and taping paper together, concocting recipes, constantly drawing and designing, making lists, taking things apart, inventing her own games, puzzling, riddling, asking lots of interesting questions, and always looking to have fun – oh my! Does that sound like your girl?
What is Di-STEM?
Di-STEM is Diversty in Science-Technology-Engineering-Math based program that is targeted at introducing girls and underserved to STEM.
It’s no secret — the need to diversify the engineering field has long been emphasized, especially as women comprise 13 percent of engineering jobs. And women of color (African American, Hispanic and Native American) still comprise less than 2 percent of all professionals in the engineering workforce.
Unfortunately, too many girls skip right on past engineering as a potential profession, citing that they either didn’t feel that they “looked like” an engineer or that they “didn’t even know” about engineering as a profession. And when many girls do make it into an engineering major, it can be very isolating as the only female in the classroom and especially for a female student of color.
Enter Di-STEM. This program introduces STEM as early as possible, and teaches girls to stop doubting themselves and to be more confident in their knowledge and skills.
Can boys join?
Absolutely, boys are welcomed. However, one can expect that the majority of participants will be girls. Di-STEM is intentionally inclusive, targeting underrepresented and underserved kids.
What grade level is Gear Heads?
STEM is for all grade levels; adults even have fun. Gear Heads (Di-STEM) will be focused at the 5th/6th grade level of science. Kids will be challenged at their age level, and will be encouraged to ask a LOT of questions, as well as explore and answer their own questions!
Who is coordinating and leading the sessions?
As an employee of Keysight Technologies, Tamie LeBar will be managing the Gear Head Di-STEM program. Tamie has over 25 years of engineering experience, and manages a global team of engineers and technical program managers. Tamie has always served kids in her community. Early in Tamie’s career, she brought STEM activities and awareness to underrepresented and underserved youth in Sacramento and Sonoma counties, as well as being a mentor in the workplace. In the past 8 years, Tamie’s “spare time” has been coaching her daughter’s various sports teams. ;) Tamie’s mentoring and coaching style is reflected in her passion to achieve three basic goals.
#1 goal is to foster confidence in girls early on. Taking initiative, persistence, assertiveness, and leadership must be instilled as positive attributes for girls very early on. Girls need to be taught to recognize that when opportunities arise, don’t hesitate to grasp them. It never hurts to try, and miss. Mistakes, failures, bumps in the road are all opportunities to learn and grow, which brings them another step closer to success. All girls need to have far greater courage and confidence to pursue anything their minds and hearts imagine, even when a challenge feels enormously difficult. See it and do it, without fear or judgment.
#2 goal is for more girls to become aware that STEM careers exist for them, and that there are as many diverse STEM careers as there are diverse interests. If there is one thing to count on, it is that technology is evolving at an incredible fast pace, and someone needs to fill those jobs. It’s exciting times to be an engineer. A combination of confidence, awareness, encouragement, and ongoing mentorship will help to inspire.
BUT it does not stop there...
#3 goal is for our community to understand this is a MUST DO, and remove the perception that "intentional inclusivity" means taking away from someone else. Armed with confidence and excitement about the possibilities, now the girls need our commitment from their community and workplaces to follow through.
The best companies and organizations have learned that diversity is immensely powerful. New fresh ideas will not come from a group of like-minded individuals. Rather, the best ideas come from individuals with varying perspectives and backgrounds coming together, and they will unleash astounding solutions to the most difficult problems that our world is yet to face.