Program helps teen girls get into STEM programs – KGNS

LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) – Roughly 48 percent of women across the country are in the workforce but only 27 percent are involved in the science, technology, engineering, or math field, that’s according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In an effort to boost those statistics, an organization in Laredo has initiated a program for middle school girls.
Deciding on a future career can be quite the challenge for a young teen, especially with many fields out there.
Some might want to be architects, lawyers, or police officers but for Rinoa Penaloza, being part of the medical community is her dream.
“The fact the pandemic we were learning a lot about what causes these illnesses, taking care of each other,” said Rinoa’s mom Nora Penaloza. “Her dad works at a hospital in the pharmacy, he is a pharmacy tech and her uncle works as a paramedic in the fire department, she sees a little bit of the benefits of that there are for medical.”
Thanks to a special program called ‘Latina Leads’, Rinoa gets to explore the wonders of the paramedic world but also other fields such as technology, engineering, mechanical and fashion.
Karla Garza, from the Area Health and Education Center said although this program is only for middle school girls, it gives them a glimpse into the STEM world.
“Usually when growing up as children, some parents have the tendency of separating boys to anything that has moving objects, toys, cars and automatically push girls to the more nurturing aspects,” said Garza. “What we’re trying to do is to show them that is not necessarily true they can do anything they can put their minds to.”
Part of this 36-week program, those who sign up will help develop specials skills in science and math, increase their opportunities on leadership skills and shape their critical thinking skills.
Nora encourages teens to keep studying hard and never give up on their dreams.
“Just to not take other people’s comment to heart, because some people are like why do you want to do that, you don’t want to do this, this would be easier, but it’s not what you want to do,” said Nora.
To learn more about the program, you can call (956)712-0037.
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