We know that mentoring, early exposure, and encouragement are the key factors for women to choose and succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. To better support our future high-tech workforce, Montana STEM Mentors has partnered with an innovative national mentor-matching platform called Million Women Mentors (MWM). The MWM database allows "mentee-providing organizations" (i.e. after-school programs, libraries, student and professional groups) to issue searchable mentor requests whenever a need arises. Mentors who would answer the calls are enrolled under "individual" accounts; a simple search and the press of a button connects the mentors with exactly the right mentees. There is a third type of account, for "mentor-providers" (any corporation, college, or organization). These are the accounts that have extraordinary power to change the perceptions women have about whether or not they will be able to succeed in STEM fields, since each pledge made by a "mentor-providing" organization is a strong, public affirmation of that organization's support for women in their field. There are many ways to "mentor," including one-to-one, one-to-many, online, by providing internships and apprenticeships, sponsoring (supporting the advancement of a person by advocating for them within an organization), offering resources or scholarships, developing a new STEM program or space, or anything else that will help advance the STEM careers of girls and women in Montana.
We're also championing the MWM infrastructure because it gives us a way to learn about all of the great things Montanans are doing to support this important cause - an individual does not need to commit to 20 new hours of mentoring to participate, as they can receive credit for the work they already do. If every mentor in the state is "counted" for their efforts, we'll be able to report to women in STEM in Montana and in other parts of the world that Montana is a welcoming, supportive, and innovative place to work. If you would like be a part of the solution for women in STEM, please fill out the fields below and then check the appropriate box so we can send you the correct information about how to get started.