Undersecretaries of state discuss STEM opportunities


Students meet with Rose Gottemoeller and Tara Sonenshine.

Rose Gottemoeller and Tara Sonenshine from the U.S. State Department visited Jefferson on Dec. 19  to speak with aspiring female students about the opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The eighth period presentation was sponsored by the Tomorrow’s Women in Science and Technology club (TWIST).

Prior to speaking, Gottemoeller and Sonenshine listened to Jefferson students present some of their own projects. Seniors Tahmina Achekzai and Divya Bhaskara, junior Alison Yu and sophomore Sreya Atluri briefly summarized their experiments and findings in various research undertakings.

Gottemoeller and Sonenshine discussed their experience with integrating STEM subjects and politics. They encouraged students to incorporate political affairs into their careers as well in order to create new opportunities for breakthroughs in science and diplomacy.

“I think you’re all going to break ground for individuals and for society,” Sonenshine said, talking to the students present. “You are going to be the pioneers in this area of science for women.”

For those who are intimidated by the daunting prospect of forging new paths in science and government, Gottemoeller believes that the first step is simply to take some chances.

“The old cliché goes that 90 percent of success is just showing up,” Gottemoeller said. “Always be in a place with opportunities. Look around yourself for mentors, people who can support you and help you deal with your internal uncertainties.”

Gottemoeller and Sonenshine concluded their visit by urging students to move forward toward their vocations by taking advantage of Jefferson’s unique, STEM-oriented curriculum.

“We hope you dream big and think of all the problems you can solve and the challenges you can take,” Sonenshine said. “Take every step with confidence, because all of us are supporting you and paving the way.”