Join us as we celebrate STEMtember! Women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). We are proud to be a part of the IF/THEN Initiative that is working to create gender equity in the STEM field. IF/THEN strives to empower women currently in the STEM field and inspire the future of generation of girls. This month, we will highlight women working in STEM in our community and beyond, share STEM resources like our Creativity TV videos and more!
Check out this post to meet Karen Dewhirst, Creative Discovery Museum's Science Manager. From STEAM Club for Home School to pollinator education and awareness to distance learning and more, Karen oversees all science-related programs and experiences at the Museum.
Q. What is your favorite subject in STEM?
I adore science, specifically, biology and zoology. I really enjoy learning about the natural world and find it fascinating. I use my science skills all the time. I am constantly experimenting, evaluating and making revisions based on my observations in my extensive garden and at work. All things I learned to do studying science in college.
Q. Did you go to college? If so, where and what did you study?
I attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and have a bachelor’s degree in Zoology.
Q. What sparked your love for the STEM field?
Field guides! I read them voraciously when I was in elementary and middle school. I had field guides on flowers, trees, ferns, insects, and shells. I studied and learned so much from field guides that I remember even now, many, many years later.
Q. Was there someone in your life that encouraged you to pursue a STEM related career?
My parents encouraged me to pursue whatever career I desired. My mother was a nurse. She loved medicine and conditions of the human body. I remember reading her medical textbooks. The images and descriptions were amazing and often gross! My father was involved in animal husbandry and agriculture. There was a lot of applied science in our household. Science wasn’t something I just learned at school. Science permeated our lives in so many ways, every day.
Q. What would you say to other girls or parents of girls who are interested in STEM fields?
If you love it, go for it! STEM fields are critical to solving societies’ challenges. It is exciting and worthwhile to be part of the solution!
Q. What do you love about working at Creative Discovery Museum the most?
I really enjoy seeing kids get excited about science and empowering them to see STEM fields as a way to solve the world’s problems. In addition, I’m always learning new things about a wide variety of science topics to share with guests of the Museum.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience in a STEM field.
I believe that there is not a problem that humans have created that can’t be remedied by creativity, ingenuity, commitment and knowledge of STEM. My goal is to inspire students to see themselves as catalysts for change and a more sustainable future.