Five Take Home STEM Girls of Promise Award


Jon Fitzgerald

From left to right, Maryam Ilyas, Maichi Nguyen, Selena Riede, Devin Scharer, and Sydney Suvransri are awarded the STEM Girls’ of Promise Award by the Ballwin/Chesterfield Chapter of AAUW on April 18.

The Inaugural American Association of University Women from the Ballwin/Chesterfield Chapter awarded five PHS girls the STEM Girls of Promise Award, an award that recognizes female students who show promise in a STEM field.

The girls who won the award, Maryam Ilyas, Maichi Nguyen, Selena Riede, Devin Scharer, and Sydney Suvransri, also received a $100 scholarship, a medal, and attended a celebratory breakfast.

Ms. Mulanax, PHS Physics teacher, organized Pattonville’s inaugural ceremony, with the help of the Co-Vice-President of the Ballwin/Chesterfield chapter and retired Pattonville English teacher Marcia Block.

“The students who I nominated are all hard workers, determined, ask good questions, practice, and they do their problem sets,” Mulanax said. “That sort of determination and hard work is what’s needed to succeed in STEM.”

All of the different STEM teachers at Pattonville got to nominate who they thought had promise in a STEM field.

AAUW’s goal is to advance “​​gender equality for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy,” and hopes to inspire more girls to go into STEM fields.

Women make up 50% of the world’s population, and only 15-18% of women are in the physics position, so there’s no parody.

— Ms. Mulanax

Ms. Mulanax nominated winner Maichi Nguyen. Nguyen is not completely sure what she wants to major in but she enjoys Geology and Physics a lot.

“It [STEM] makes sense to me. There are lots of overlapping patterns in the different science and math classes I’ve taken and I like the problem-solving aspect,” Nguyen said.

Devin Scharer wants to major in a science-related field such as Environmental Studies or Agriculture.

“STEM gives students the opportunity to learn about how the world works, and there are so many interesting and intricate things to learn about in this field,” Scharer said. “The wide variety of topics within STEM allows for many to be involved, as well as lots of diversity.”

Scharer is also participating in an internship at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center this summer, which was why she was nominated for this award.

“It’s amazing that we are celebrating the achievements of us five girls,” Scharer added, “something that should’ve been happening way sooner.”

For the inaugural ceremony, Ms. Mulanax thought that “things were a bit shaky,” but she said she hopes that the program will continue to grow after she has retired.