By Jessie Kuenzel
On Monday, Nov. 16, Simmons College hosted a roundtable discussion of women in the STEM fields, which included 19 leaders in their respective fields, three Simmons chemistry students, and U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Joe Kennedy III.
The meeting, which was closed to the public, was held at 10:30 a.m. in the SOM following a tour of a first-year chemistry lab by Pelosi and Kennedy. In attendance were representatives from many major news publications, including Channel 7, and Fox 25.
In her introduction to the group, Pelosi—who holds an honorary degree from Simmons—called Kennedy “Mr. STEM,” referring to his many initiatives towards furthering STEM education in America. “You have no greater champion in the Congress than Joe Kennedy,” she said.
“If our country wants to stay competitive for generations to come, we cannot continue to leave talent and potential on the table. With this in mind, I have made Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education a cornerstone of my legislative agenda,” says Kennedy on his website kennedy.house.gov.
“The point is for [us] to learn from you,” said Kennedy as he addressed the group assembled on Monday. He opened the discussion by asking the three Simmons students in attendance what had piqued their interests in the STEM field, and how that same experience could be brought to others.
Over the course of the hour, the discussions ranged from the need for an overhaul of science curriculum in early education (pre-k through 8th grade), the importance of mentorship programs for women and girls of all ages, and initiatives that specifically target and help girls and women of color in the STEM field.
After the discussion wrapped up, Kennedy and Pelosi spent a few minutes mingling with attendees and then spoke briefly with the press in attendance.