El Dorado Native, and current Miss Augusta, Sierra Marie Bonn is a biomedical engineering student at Wichita State University, and she believes young women should be empowered to accomplish whatever they dream. “I believe that they should be supported to become astronauts, artists, and even Miss America,” Sierra says. “By promoting STEAM education and engagement and showcasing their potential to thrive in STEAM careers, young women are empowered to achieve their dreams.”
The combination of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is recognized as STEAM education. “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” is the educational initiative Sierra has designed to share with classrooms, camps, and community partners to expose girls and young women to their potential in STEAM fields.
In America, only one in five workers in research, architecture, engineering, and high-tech careers are women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. When Sierra shares this statistic, she asks, “How can young women aspire to reach their dreams if they have so few role models? How can they reach their dreams if they don’t know they are within their grasp?”
“Currently, there is a short supply of talented workers because the stereotypes of what make a good engineer, scientist, programmer, and architect exclude half of the population and half of the talent we desperately need.” Sierra states that by failing to empower our young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts, and math careers, our nation’s STEAM workforce will continue to decline. This results in a loss of the historical strength and competitive edge the American economy has in the fields of science and technology, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
As Miss Augusta, Sierra is raising awareness of the gender inequality in STEAM fields and promoting how young women can get involved. Her solution? Honoring influential women in STEAM fields in a week-long celebration, called Women in STEAM Week to be held annually in the third week of October.
The first computer programmer in the world was Augusta Ada Byron-King, Countess of Lovelace — Ada Lovelace, for short. Her story is remarkable not only because was she a woman, but also because she was coding for a computer that wouldn’t even be invented for another 100 years. Every year in October, she is recognized around the world for her contributions to innovation and for her inspiring impact on the world as a woman in STEAM. This proclamation aims to honor her, and other inspiring women like her, during Women in STEAM week. “By providing an avenue for influential women in STEAM to be publicly recognized, our young women will be exposed to numerous role models and will be empowered to pursue their interests.”
Find out more information about influential women in STEAM by visiting Miss Augusta’s website, letsgofullSTEAMahead.com