Girls Run the (STEM) World: How Lundbeck is Helping to Close the STEM Gender Gap
Three Chicago teens, three highly personal motivations for pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Dejah foresees a fully automated future and wants to be prepared for the STEM-focused job market. Nia wants to become a surgeon, in part because of her cousin’s death from gun violence. Princess believes STEM can change the world.
Their aspirations may differ, but these young women – all recent graduates of Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy on Chicago’s South Side – have one thing in common: They represent a step toward closing the gender gap in STEM careers.
The three are the recipients of a Lundbeck STEM Scholarship. Each received a scholarship toward collegiate educational expenses. They were chosen based on their grade point average, SAT score and an essay that illuminates why they are passionate about pursuing STEM. “Science is how we discover medicine, cures, surgeries, everything to keep the human race moving,” Princess wrote in her essay. “STEM in a field that will never stop growing.”
As a science-driven company, Lundbeck is committed to cultivating and promoting the next generation of scientific leaders. A longtime partner of Perspectives, Lundbeck’s support has funded infrastructure improvements, such as a new science lab that provides students with a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. Lundbeck also organizes an annual a school-supply drive and an internship program that matches students with mentors at Lundbeck. Since 2014, Lundbeck has offered college scholarships to high-achieving students; 2019 was first year that all three scholarship recipients were female.
“Society needs more women in the engineering field, specifically black women,” Dejah wrote in her essay. “I plan to hire my family to work for me. My goal is to completely stop the poverty in my family, while also contributing to innovation in the world.”
With a workforce that is more than 50 percent female and a senior leadership team that is 50 percent female, Lundbeck US has a proven track record of supporting gender parity. But leaders at the company understand the gender gap in today’s STEM pipeline poses a threat to future innovation. A recent study by Microsoft found that girls and young women tend to lose interest in STEM fields as they age. By the time they finish high school, their interest drops significantly.
Developing talent to support a future workforce of STEM professionals that is representative of the racial, ethnic and gender composition of our population is an imperative for Lundbeck. “As innovators in one of the largest STEM sectors, we know firsthand how vital it is to cultivate a diverse talent pool,” says Peter Anastasiou, executive vice president and head of North America. Anastasiou was recently recognized as the 2019 Honorable Mentor of the Year by the Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association, in recognition of his long-term commitment to advancing women’s careers. “We are proud of our initiatives in this area—especially our partnership with Perspectives, and we are honored to support these three outstanding graduates and future leaders.”