The GirlsRISE project (www.girlsrisenet.org/about) is all about girl power. This nationwide network of museums led by the Miami Science Museum works to strengthen the capacity of informal science educators to engage and motivate middle school and high school minority girls to explore and pursue careers in science and engineering. At the recent GirlsRISE National Institute in Baltimore, Dr. Angela Byars-Winston participated as a guest researcher and one of the event’s invited speakers, giving a talk entitled: “Promoting Culturally-Relevant STEM Career Interventions: Assessing Self and Building Skills.” Now Dr. Byars-Winston has been given another immense honor – she has just been named a “Champion of Change” by The White House (www.whitehouse.gov/champions).
Champions of Change are individuals, businesses, or organizations honored by President Obama because they embody the theme “Innovate, Educate, and Build.” On December 9, an event was held at The White House to honor Dr. Byars-Winston and fellow Champion Barbara A. Bitters. These inspiring women were chosen because of their determined efforts to “win the future” by helping to recruit girls and retain women in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The event included small group discussions focused on changing the stereotypes of girls in STEM, and mentoring and supporting women in the STEM workforce.
Dr. Byars-Winston is a counseling psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Department of Medicine. She has done extensive research on cultural influences on academic and career development, especially for women and minorities in STEM. She is a member of the STEM Equity Pipeline National Advisory Board, as part of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (www.napequity.org/), and has played a major role in creating diverse classrooms and workspaces. She is a true champion.