NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The gender gap for women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math continues to be an unsolved problem.
While more than 57 percent of college undergraduates are women, only 18 percent progress into STEM careers.
An event that was held at Stephen F. Austin State University Tuesday focused on the young women who are the pioneers in reversing the trend.
"You want in the end to see a nice smooth curve like a peak and then a depression," said Toluwani Soares, a geology major who has a math minor.
Soares was talking about the sound measurement she uses in her geophysical research at SFA. Women strive for a similar stable measurement as their gender pursues STEM disciplines.
"Fields like biology tend to have more women than fields like mathematics and computer science, but the numbers have been improving in recent years," said Dr. Jane Long, an SFA associate professor of mathematics.
STEM students shared their research, something most of the students were introduced to in high school.
"We were just super engaged in science and we would ask questions and we go pursue them," Soares said.
Christine Villas stood before her poster, but before that, she was in rubber boots wading Lanana Creek in Nacogdoches to find out if it contains dangerous heavy metals.
"Based on our research, ma'am, everything is below our world health organization center, so everything is safe," Villas said.
Danielle Minteer spent her summer break mapping a fault line that took out her friend's house in Montgomery County. Once finished, the research will be the first publication of its kind on the potentially dangerous fault line.
"I really just want my data to get out there and publish it where there won't be more structures built in the vicinity of this fault line to cause further deformation," Minteer said.
All of these research projects by the ladies are very thoughtful and are focused on providing a better future.
Everyone from educators to corporate leaders says collaborating with women in STEM fields is not a move to push men out, so they need not to look over their shoulders in worry.
"I hope the guys are looking over their shoulder to give a leg up and a hand to everybody coming in to join them," Long said with a chuckle.
SFA frequently hosts STEM camps for young girls. Also, the new STEM building is set to be completed this fall on campus.