Dear Ms. Perrette,
First let me say that YOU are the coolest STEM out there!! For hundreds of thousands of NCIS fans, you epitomize how cool and sexy STEM can be — and perhaps more importantly — the role STEM plays in achieving some of the nation’s most important missions. Women in Homeland Security has picked up this mission — to expose students from middle to upper school to the missions associated with homeland and national security STEM in public service.
Since 2011, we have been connecting schools with field trips in the public and private sector to show kids how “cool” a career in STEM can be. Our first trip, to the U.S. Secret Service forensic labs, had kids talking about STEM for days and making other kids wish that they had the opportunity to see the labs, get their fingerprints taken, and learn about cyber security.
You probably know that America needs STEM graduates desperately. The federal government alone needs thousands of cyber warriors to protect our nation’s systems — financial, critical infrastructure, top secret DOD advances and much more. Across the homeland and national security mission we need people in the U.S.Coast Guard for missions like protecting the environment after oil spills, protecting our ports, working on the technologies that allow the USCG to do all of their missions. At Customs and Border Protection, we need technologies to link databases, to train dogs, to advance communications to share information. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, these are all STEM fields.
We have learned through our work that girls in particular need to feel a connection with their work — they often leave STEM fields because they don’t feel that connection. Through our work we show them a direct connection to how STEM helps the environment, saves animals, protects our country. We bring that mission directly to them by bringing them to some of the most exciting and interesting STEM field trips around.
We still have an important hinderance to overcome. In many circles, STEM is just not that cool.
I learned this from my personal experience. I know one very special girl who is excellent at math and science. For many years she really enjoyed all of it. Then in middle school, she turned off. She still gets As in science and math and says that “math is calming” (who says that!!??) but she does not want to engage. After much prodding and subtle conversations, ultimately, it’s because these disciplines are not perceived as “cool.” And I get it. Kids want to be in the cool group. Sometimes STEM is not perceived that way.
You can change all of that. And you already have for many, many people. We would be so thrilled if you would do so formally with our mission.
With you as our voice and spokesperson you show every little girl how cool STEM is. You show every kid — boy or girl — the mission oriented, satisfying work STEM careers provide. However, you also provide that strong, cool, role model that shows kids an exceptional, brilliant STEM woman. You are so perfect 🙂
I realize that you get requests like this all the time but I hope we inspired your interest. Together we could make a tremendous difference for our country, for girls in STEM, and for our economy. More about this initiative is available at: www.WHSSTEM.com and of course, our work as an organization is here: www.womeninhomelandsecurity.com
Regardless of your decision, we will remain your true number one fans for all you do, and have done, to forward how “cool” STEM careers can be!
With highest regards,
President & Founder
Women in Homeland Security