Last week, Million Women Mentors - Florida (MWM) celebrated the accomplishments of their mentors and program facilitators during a special event at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI). They celebrated over 5,000 mentoring hours in STEM, shared motivating stories, and recognized more than 100 mentors and facilitators. Guests were inspired by speaker LaVonna Roth, Founder of Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.
In 2015 the State of Florida pledged to foster 5,000 mentor-mentee relationships within the next four years as a part of the Million Women Mentors (MWM) program. The goal of MWM is to sponsor programs that connect girls and young women ages 12 - 24 with STEM professionals and increase the number of women who choose to pursue, and succeed, in careers in these fields.
Joleen Clark, MWM-FL Chair - in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), have developed a school mentoring program to get more girls engaged with STEM. Coordinated largely by Tricia Saunders, Program Manager of Volunteer Services for HCPS, mentors worked with 5 to 10 girls over the course of 20 weeks, focusing on all things STEM.
According to Larry Plank, Director of K-12 STEM, “This year's Million Women Mentor program was a terrific success and supports not only the Superintendent and Board's initiative of having an advocate for every child, but also our broad STEM ecosystem goal of supporting underrepresented students in STEM."
Meet Joe Battle, a Million Women Mentor and Medical Center Director of the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa
The Million Women Mentors program is one that the James A. Haley VA Medical Center is proud to embrace and support. Joe Battle remembers going through Engineering school at the University of Alabama in the late 70’s to find only two women in his cohort. Battle remarks that, “Clearly, there were not enough women in the Engineering programs. That is sadly still the case today with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math career fields (STEM).”
When Battle heard that the State of Florida pledged to foster 5,000 mentor-mentee relationships within the next four years as a part of the Million Women Mentors (MWM) program he wholeheartedly agreed to have his facility participate and support this initiative.
Battle felt this was a chance for his organization to be part of their community and to help young women discover their career interests with an exciting program. Battle mentored an eighth grade group of young ladies from Benito Middle School. He was amazed at their tenacity for learning STEM disciplines and careers. “It is a blessing to be able to pay it forward to students and have a positive impact on their lives,” said Battle.
The MWM-FL hopes to use HCPS as a model across the state of Florida in other school districts. Mentors are still needed for this innovative and exciting program. For more information about how to get started, please contact Tricia Saunders, Volunteer Services Program Manager at (813) 872-5254 or visit sdhc.k12.fl.us type “ go Volunteers”.
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