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Empowering Women in STEM

By Arshia Mathur l September 27, 2021

Bridging the gender gap in STEM careers has been a challenge for many decades. Still, women make up just 28 percent of the workforce and are vastly outnumbered by men majoring in fields such as computer science, mechanical engineering, and business, just to name a few. In an attempt to make such fields more attainable for young women locally, Montgomery High School students Gloria Yao and Jennifer Tian created Fem N STEM. They said the many STEM clubs at school were male-dominated and they felt out of place. They were unable to connect with other girls interested in STEM. Therefore, one of Fem N STEM’s main goals is to create more female role models so that young women can comfortably imagine themselves working in those fields in the future.

Fem N STEM members, back row from left: Neha Vardhaman, Sanaa Mahmood, Anndrea Zhang, and Alyssa Xu. Front from left: Jennifer Tian, Gloria Yao, Saanvi Challuri, and Elina Aghtar. All students are from Montgomery High School except Alyssa Xu is from Bridgewater and Elina Aghtar is from Hillsborough.

Fem N STEM has five major committees that work to produce valuable resources such as free tutoring, magazines, fundraisers, and virtual workshops: Tutoring is directed by Neha Vardhaman which creates informational videos for their YouTube channel, Social Media is directed by Sanaa Mahmood which is responsible for making Instagram posts that inform members about local STEM events, Outreach is directed by Saanvi Challuri which is responsible for contacting potential guest speakers, Art is directed by Anndrea Zhang which is responsible for designing magazines, and Content is directed by Alyssa Xu which is responsible for researching and writing for magazines. All the directors created the club in hopes of spreading their passion for STEM to young girls and representing and empowering young women in the community.

Although the club is young, it still has many noteworthy accomplishments: on June 11, 2021, Fem N STEM published its first magazine which included abundant information about the Computer Science field. The organization has also proudly hosted many guest speaker events featuring Ph.D. student Liz Victoria of Phoenix, AZ, anesthesiology resident Michelle Kim Lin of Chantilly, VA., and pediatric resident Michelle Talukder of Canton Michigan.

Correspondingly, Fem N STEM’s local bake sales never fail to bring their club community together to improve the organization. The money raised is used to promote and improve the club’s goal; whether it is used for more notable guest speakers, donated to girls in need, or for funding female STEM community events.

Fem N STEM Montgomery youth organization sold handmade pastries and bracelets to raise funds to teach girls about STEM. Back from left: Alyssa Xu, Jennifer Tian, Neha Vardhaman, Sanaa Mahmood, Anndrea Zhang, Suhani Agrawal, Vanshika Yadav. Front: Saanvi Challuri, Pennie Lu, Gloria Yao.

In the future, Fem N STEM hopes to expand the club to more young girls across the world to provide them with various opportunities that they may not otherwise have access to. They plan to connect girls with experienced women in STEM as mentor figures by getting in touch with more notable guest speakers as well as setting up free STEM tutoring to help support their interests and improve their skills. Overall, they hope to become an inspiration for any and every girl interested in STEM.

More information is available at


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