Striving for improved gender demographics in STEM


The ratio of women to men in Engineering classes may be lopsided, but women often take the lead in projects

The room has tables grouped to sit four at a time, industrial vents suspended from the ceiling tiles, and white boards covered in mathematical equations. It is filled with extension cords, tools, stacks of plywood, nuts and bolts, drills, student photos, supply bins, and men. She looked around on her first day there and thought this can’t happen.

Paige Doughman revived the Women in STEM club after she realized that of the 28-30 students in her Engineering III class, there were only two women, including herself.

“I started the women in STEM club at King’s High School as a way to get more women at King’s high school involved in the STEM program,” Doughman said.

The Women in STEM club has been around for a couple of years but they were unable to do much because of Covid. Paige has taken engineering for three years now, during senior year, she decided to take charge.

“At first, everyone just met for a few times, and then Paige really just took ownership of it, and she started doing things and coming up with an agenda. She was really the liaison with Mr. Leist in getting the club started as well. She really took the idea and ran,” West said.

This year, the women in STEM club not only held meetings but also they went into motion. They set up a STEM fair night for younger students to get a look into the field of science.

“The kids got to come in and perform various stem activities and just see different ways that things work and different experiments,” West said.

The STEM night was a huge success and became one of the clubs crowning achievements this year.

“We actually had about 300 people show up for the stem fair. It was a huge success the first year out and we’re hoping to continue that tradition and really show women that there’s a spot for them in the STEM world,” Doughman said.

The women in STEM club is ready to move forward because of the groundwork Paige set this year. They are now able to dream bigger for the future education of women interested in the STEM field, in or out of the STEM club. Kaitlin Niebauer, high school junior, works closely with Paige on ideas for the future of the Women in STEM club. She is building a website to share information on scholarships for women in STEM.

“The fact that I was able to make something out of nothing from scratch, and really understand how it works made me realize that like, you know, I can make a difference in the world around me, even if it’s like not like socially but mechanically. I’ve even started to figure out how things work,” Doughman said.