group of women smiling for a photo

Women in STEM Initiative

Women remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce, in large part due to the persistence of societal stereotypes and gender bias which function as invisible barriers to successful and meaningful careers in STEM. From a young age, girls* are often subjected to societal and cultural expectations and stereotypes that discourage their interest in STEM. These stereotypes manifest in subtle ways, such as biased portrayals of scientists in media and limited exposure to female role models in STEM fields. As a result, many young girls* internalize the belief that STEM careers are not suitable for them, leading to a lack of self-identity in STEM and low representation in these fields.

In an effort to address this gap, College of DuPage is implementing a series of outreach programs aimed at providing a pipeline of support to young women in DuPage County beginning in middle school. The programs described below provide several touchpoints and opportunities for young women to meet like-minded peers, interact with women in the STEM professions, and receive support in pursuing their STEM dreams. In addition, local businesses and organizations are encouraged to take part in these programs, and community oriented programs aim to generate awareness and conversation around these invisible barriers.


In partnership with the DuPage Regional Office of Education STEM Team, College of DuPage is pleased to host the inaugural Women in STEM: SPARK workshop for middle school girls* and their parent/caregiver. Explore hands-on activities, participate in a design challenge and hear from women in the STEM fields.


In the Women in STEM: THRIVE speaker series, we invite women who are thriving in the STEM fields to tell their stories. These women are changing the world, and we cannot wait for you to hear them share their expertise.


The Women in STEM: EXPLORE event is designed to provide an opportunity for high school freshman and sophomore young women* to interact with STEM professionals and explore STEM careers. We are in the process of revamping this event - stay tuned for more information coming soon!


The Women in STEM Mentorship Program (WSMP) is a year-long program that pairs high school junior and senior young women* with College of DuPage STEM faculty to build relationships and create a network of support upon entering the community college environment.


*The COD Women in STEM Initiative aims to provide an affirming and equitable environment for all employees, volunteers and workshop participants. Our Women in STEM programs are designed to serve those who identify as girls/women* and also welcome people who identify as non-binary or gender nonconforming who wish to be in a female-identified environment.