Along the course of my academic studies, I learned about the disparities that existed for young girls and underrepresented students in the field of STEM. This became an area of interest since I was working in a bilingual magnet school in an underserved community. After conducting much research on the topic, I decided to utilize the knowledge gained to bring enhanced STEM learning opportunities to the students and families that I serve.
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to attend STEM conferences across the country and as far as Wenzhou, China. Although each and every conference has been impactful there was one event that changed the course of my educational career. It was a conference hosted by the Latinas in STEM Foundation in partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. It was then and there that I learned about the profound work being done by the Latinas in STEM Foundation to encourage younger generations to pursue and thrive in STEM fields. I also learned firsthand about the importance of educating parents about STEM career options for their children and how to finance a college education. Since then, our school has hosted yearly Latinas in STEM 101 Conferences for the students and parents in our school district.
STEM education has been a huge driving force in my life. It has afforded me the opportunity to share my experiences, research and best practices with educators in the field. This information has been chronicled in a book that I co-authored with Dr. Deborah Nagler (Building a K-12 STEM Lab: A Step-by Step Guide for School Leaders and Tech Coaches). It has also inspired me to level the playing field with the ultimate goal of providing STEM opportunities for all students.
Martha Osei-Yaw, Ed.D is the Principal at Alexander D. Sullivan School.