By Troy Carter II
for The New Orleans Tribune

For every 100 female students working toward a bachelor’s degree, only three will end up in  STEM-related jobs 10 years after graduation, according to current statistics.

The American Heart Association is working to change that with its STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) Goes Red initiative.

Through the STEM Goes Red initiative, dozens of middle school girls were recently exposed to networking opportunities,  mentoring, and hands-on STEM activities at an event held Xavier University of Louisiana.

At the event, the middle school students were mentored by both STEM college at Xavier as well as professional women working in STEM jobs today.

In addition to the American Heart Association, sponsors included Entergy, LCMC Health, COX Communications and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Leaders with the American Heart Association (AHA) shared important reasons more women are needed in medicine and science.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, says Coretta LaGarde, the executive director of the American Heart Association in Greater New Orleans. LaGarde says she believes it is imperative that there are women in the field and participating in the search for cures.

For the students that participated in the event, STEM Goes Red was another important opportunity to visualize their futures.

“Some people don’t realize that they have options,” says Alice Hart Middle School student, Stephanie Urbina, who took part in the STEM Goes Red event. Urbina wants to become an OBGYN.

She says that because of programs like STEM Goes Red, she and many other young girls will have the confidence to take that journey.

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