UK Students Promote STEM Education to Women and Girls Through #IAmAWomanInSTEM Projects

By Jenny Wells

For the second semester, University of Kentucky’s #IAmAWomanInSTEM project has awarded scholarships to 11 UK students for project proposals that promote STEM education and careers for women.

Females are less likely than their male counterparts to pursue an education in the STEM disciplines, which include science, technology, engineering, math and health care. The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative, which launched at UK in 2016, seeks to change that by recruiting hundreds of female student ambassadors who are encouraging the study of STEM and health care (STEM+H) among women at UK, and empowering them to persist in those fields.

"We are very grateful for the support from the UK Women & Philanthropy as our STEM+H students are growing in their creative roles and expanding their service projects," said Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost and advisor of the program. "Our initiative is not about brief flashes of excellence across campus, but a sustained and intentional effort by student-led groups to change the culture of our campus and the community around us." 

The awardees will further the program's mission by developing leadership projects to raise awareness of implicit bias, stereotype threat and overt discrimination to increase the number of female STEM graduates, and to encourage continued participation in STEM and health care career fields.

Funded by the UK Women & Philanthropy Network, each student received $2,000 to support her project.

The winners and their projects are:

  • Kailee Barnes, human health sciences junior, Project: "Being a Woman in STEM+H: A Storytelling Event," from Louisville, Kentucky;
  • LaShay Byrd, biology senior, Project: "A Mentor to Guide You Through," from Liberty, Kentucky;
  • Heather Campbell, mechanical engineering senior, Project: "STEM Groups Fall Semester Integration," Jackson, Kentucky;
  • Kelsey Campbell, neuroscience sophomore, Project: "Careers for STEM Women in Kentucky," from Somerset, Kentucky;
  • Tsage Douglas, public health sophomore, Project: "Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Women with Former STEM Careers and Goals," from Georgetown, Kentucky; 
  • Taylor Ford, chemical engineering senior, Project: "femSTEMpowerment," from Lexington;
  • Cameron Ginter, architecture senior, Project: "STEM: Spaces for Teaching, Encourgament and Mentorship," from Winchester, Kentucky;
  • Katie Kloska, chemistry junior, Project: "Interactive Autobiographical Insight into Life as a STEM Woman," from Fort Wright, Kentucky;
  • Kayla Kuhfeldt, biology senior, Project: "Social Media & Digital Art Outreach Project," from Grand Rapids, Michigan;
  • Mollye Malone, biosystems engineering junior, Project: "Outreach Among Middle & High School Women Considering a STEM Major/Career," from Yellow Springs, Ohio; and
  • Hannah Thompson, biology sophomore, Project: "Stories of STEM," from Louisville.

About #IAmAWomanInSTEM

In addition to the social media campaign around the #IAmAWomanInSTEM hashtag, the initiative focuses on a mentoring program that connects student ambassadors with female faculty members and women in business and industry who have STEM and health care backgrounds. 

The organization has partnered with Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton’s Million Women Mentors Kentucky chapter and the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative to raise awareness on the need for mentors for undergraduate women in STEM-related fields.

For more information, visit or find the group on social media at @IAmAWomanInSTEM.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


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