September is the month of our annual Women in the Fast Lane of STEAM Luncheon! In celebration, we asked some of our 2018 STEAM Role Models to speak on the importance of their respective STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) categories, and what they think it means to be a role model. 

SCIENCE

DR. RASHMI KUDESIA, M.D.
REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY &
INFERTILITY SPECIALIST
CCRM HOUSTON

Can you speak about the importance of Science and supporting women in Science?
“At a time when the very concept of science is being politicized, it is more important than ever that all people – especially from a young age – are exposed to the scientific method, and develop an appreciation for the methodical rigor required to develop and support scientific theories. In addition to enhancing diversity among scientists, data suggests that women tend to work very well in collaborative and team-based settings, which is how scientific research is conducted. It is critical to support women in Science because our perspectives and work open doors to new ways of viewing the world, researching how it works, and sharing our findings.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a role model?
“A role model demonstrates the key elements of being a strong (woman) leader – leading from the bottom up, demonstrating confidence, knowledge and empathy, and carrying a passion for using a career in STEAM to better our Houston community and beyond!”

TECHNOLOGY

SHAWNTELL MCWILLIAMS
PRESIDENT
SM GLOBAL CONSULTING

Can you speak about the importance of Technology and supporting women in Technology?
“There is a technology gender imbalance.  It is important to support women in technology because women bring a fresh perspective and insight based on their experiences. An investment in both hiring and retaining more women actually leads to growth and greater returns for companies. Innovation-focused companies are $44 million more valuable on average when women hold their positions of power.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a role model?
“My definition of a role model is someone who you can look up to and aspire to be like, someone that truly makes an impact, someone who makes you want to be a better person.”

ENGINEERING

PAULA HARRIS
GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF STEWARDSHIP/ EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
SCHLUMBERGER

Can you speak about the importance of Engineering and supporting women in Engineering?
“Engineering touches everything in our daily lives. Products must be designed and evaluated by a diverse group of people to ensure that the product meets the needs of the customers. It is good business to to have women as part of the innovation and design process for increased return on investment. Companies realize the importance of women and minorities in design and technology. We have to invest in girls and sometimes gently nudge and sometimes push girls into STEM careers because it is not only good for the female it is great for our society.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a role model?
“Being a role model means that you understand that people are always watching and your words and actions are important.  It also means that you have to be generous with your time and money.  It means you are teaching, coaching and setting examples.  Role models change lives and let’s others know that goals are obtainable and that is a huge responsibility that cannot be taken lightly.”

ARTS

TAMMIE JOHNSON
FASHION & LIFESTYLE BLOGGER
BE FASHION FRIENDS

Can you speak about the importance of Arts and supporting women in Arts?
“Over the past few decades, there has been a growing movement in public education and government circles to cut funding to the arts.  This is unfortunate because the arts have a very tangible, measurable, and essential impact on our lives. Not only does art improve cultural awareness, visual learning, language development and motor skills, but students who study art also have a significant increase in math, reading and standardized test scores.  The arts enrich all of us– sometimes in ways we would never suspect.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a role model?
“I believe a role model is a person that others respect or admire with personality traits, qualities or accomplishments that others perceive as positive.  A role model has these traits that others would like to emulate or copy to lead to success.  Having role models is very important to young, impressionable children and youth.  As a young child my grandmother was my role model–she was strong, independent, hard worker and mother.  She was also blind.  She never let her lack of being able to see keep her from achieving her goals.  All children especially young girls need role models.  My grandmother was a house mother at, Hardin House-a dorm at University of Texas.  She always encouraged me to go to college.  In 1995, I was accepted to the University of Texas, but I could not afford to enroll.  Much later, I was able to go to University of Houston and receive my Bachelors in Psychology and later my Masters at Rice University in Liberal Studies.  I am so thankful for my grandmother who was my role model.  I would like to help other young girls like my grandmother helped me.  I believe that education is very important for everyone, but especially young girls.  I am very honored for the opportunity to be a STEAM role model and help young ladies achieve their dream of education and scholarships.  My grandmother was blind but she could see the importance of education for young girls.  Because she was such a great role model for me and taught me that education for women is power, I would like to help other girls follow their educational dreams.”

MATH

PATTI ABSHIRE
SVP/COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER
BANK OF AMERICA  

Can you speak about the importance of Math and supporting women in Math?
“Math is important for many reasons, especially when regarding finance. Understanding how to manage finances will help women personally and is crucial when it comes to their business success. Math is critical in helping with a financial plan and a budget, which is the most effective way to manage and save money.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a role model?
“A role model is a person who serves as a positive example to others. Everyone has an opportunity to be a role model in some way by encouraging others in their lives.  As a parent, it’s my goal to become a positive role model for my daughter and to other young women.”

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