March 20, 2020
Students connect with female STEM teachers
The Upper St. Clair High School Spark Girls into STEM Club recently hosted 50 female students and eight female science and math teachers for breakfast and round-table discussions on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the high school.
“I realized that we have such an amazing faculty that we take for granted here at Upper St. Clair,” Reshma Gudla, USCHS junior and SGIS president, said. “As students, we typically dismiss our teachers as just ‘teachers’ without acknowledging what led them to where they are today.”
During the 90-minute event, students had the opportunity to connect with their female STEM teachers. Every seven minutes, teachers would rotate to the next table – allowing all students to learn more about each teacher, her STEM journey, and the challenges/rewards of working in her chosen discipline.
“The purpose of this breakfast was to bridge the gap between students and teachers as well as to highlight the fact that our teachers are willing to support us along our journey to becoming the next female engineers, doctors, or whatever it may be in a field that is dominated by males,” Reshma said.
Members of the faculty who participated in the breakfast round-tables included Mrs. Dawn Mostowy, biology; Mrs. Lynn Kistler, environmental science and physics; Mrs. Pat Palazzolo, gifted education; Mrs. Stephanie Fisher, math; Mrs. Tracey Vacco, forensic science; Mrs. Antoinette Vizzini, math; Mrs. Laura Marks, chemistry; and Mrs. Tracey Smith, physics.
SGIS, whose mission is to create a cycle of female empowerment within the STEM community at Upper St. Clair, is led by Reshma along with fellow club officers senior Prathiksha Sivakumar, vice-president, and sophomore Esha Lahoti, secretary. The club is sponsored by Mrs. Mostowy and Mr. Steve Miller, mathematics curriculum leader.
Other activities of SGIS include an outreach program at Boyce Middle School where 15 members serve as mentors for 50 girls on a science fair research project and engineering team-bonding activities.