The Female Leadership Association in Math, Engineering, and Science (FLAMES), a new Upper School club at Saint Andrew’s School, is fired up about events that encourage girls to take leadership roles in fields of math, science, engineering, and technology. FLAMES held an event on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in the Upper School, welcoming alumni Michelle Dandeneau ’16, a student at Barnard Neuroscience, and Daniela Dwek ’16, an intern at Pixar Animator and student at the School of Visual Arts, to speak to participants via Skype.
Michelle and Daniela spoke to a room full of Upper School students about their mathematical and scientific explorations in college as they look ahead toward various careers in modern STEM industries. They also addressed their STEM-related experiences after graduating from Saint Andrew's. They told Scots how they have applied what they learned (both academically and personally) at SA to their future careers.
The skype discussion brought up issues related to what it is like for women in male-dominated fields and the importance for women to self-advocate. “To me, one of the most important takeaways was when they told us that just because you are the only female in the room doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be there,” offered Claire Nottman, Co-Vice President of FLAMES. “They also shared that girls sometimes tend to stay quiet if they are in a room full of men, so it is especially important to remain confident of oneself and one’s abilities in those moments,” she added.
One of the club’s main goals is to inspire girls to pursue STEM activities, and to show them the possibilities of careers that involve math, science, and engineering. “Hearing from alumni who were recently in our exact place showed club members all the opportunities we have ahead of us, and hopefully inspired some of the students in attendance to consider a path like theirs,” said Claire.
Taking inspiration from the FAU Association for Women in Math, the FLAMES club was initiated at the start of the 2019-2020 school year by Stella Chen, President, and Co-Vice Presidents, Claire Nottman and Jamie Shook. They wanted to develop a mentorship program inside Saint Andrew's with the Middle and Lower Schools, as well as continue to build external relationships with FAU by attending more of their sponsored events.
FLAMES club members are excited for an event involving the Lower School. FLAMES members planned a Pi Day craft activity to foster a love of math in younger students. After the Pi Day activity, FLAMES plans to ask the Black Student Union to partner with us in an event to honor the late Katherine Johnson in a showing of "Hidden Figures.”
On the heels of National Women’s Day on March 8, ongoing conversations that the FLAMES club ignites creates a valuable network of support within Saint Andrew's, especially among female students interested in STEM, and provides opportunities for students to learn about career paths involving STEM.