SMES Celebrates Women in STEAM: The Talented Leaders Inspiring the Next Generation of STEAM Practitioners

Attracting students from across Southern California, the annual Girls in STEAM Symposium was created by St. Margaret’s educators five years ago to encourage and inspire girls into STEAM courses and academic paths because females in particular are underrepresented in advanced STEAM courses in high school and higher education and in professional fields of industry.

At the inaugural event, three St. Margaret’s teachers and STEAM leaders shared their personal stories of entering and succeeding in STEAM as one of few females in their classes and workplaces – Director of Technology and Innovation Lynn Ozonian, Math Department Chair Elizabeth O’Shea, and Upper School science teacher Jennifer Ross-Viola.

Today, Mrs. Ozonian, Mrs. O’Shea and Dr. Ross-Viola are among many women at St. Margaret’s who are contributing to and championing STEAM fields, and teaching the next generation of STEAM leaders. Many of their students will attend the 2021 Girls in STEAM Symposium on Tuesday.

“We each possess our own set of experiences, skills, talents and unique perspectives. When we bring them all together in any field or team setting, it encourages new ways of thinking, higher productivity, creativity and problem-solving. Currently women make up 23 percent of STEAM fields compared to slightly higher than 50 percent of the population. By advocating for gender-balance and having more women and girls in STEAM, there is greater opportunity for innovation, ingenuity and advancement in our society. Simply put, STEAM needs our girls!” said St. Margaret’s Director of Educational Technology and Library and computer science department chair Angela Mackenzie. “We want to be a part of making that a reality and I am proud that St. Margaret’s has been organizing this event for the last five years. We want all females and those who identify as female to see themselves as part of the future of STEAM. This event inspires them by showcasing notable women in this field beyond our campus as well as our incredible female STEAM subject teachers right here at St. Margaret’s.”

In all, nearly two dozen STEAM subject teachers at St. Margaret’s are talented, expert and inspiring women, and many of them contribute to the success of the Girls in STEAM Symposium each year.

“We have an amazing group of mentors here at St. Margaret’s,” Mrs. Mackenzie said. “It is hard to imagine being something without seeing it, and so what they do not only for the Girls in STEAM Symposium and every day for our students is provide their incredible subject matter expertise and serve as inspiration and role models to all our students. Spotlighting women leaders in STEAM is an important part of inspiring the next generation!”

St. Margaret’s women in STEAM educators are:  

Amanda Albanese, visual arts teacher
Ashley Baffa, Middle School science teacher
Karen Bennett, cinematic arts teacher
Stephanie Capen, Upper School science teacher
Andrea Chou, Upper School science teacher
Kathleen Cunningham, Upper School math teacher
Kellita Felton, Upper School science teacher
Emily Hart, Upper School science teacher
Linda He, Upper School math teacher
Veronica Johns-Richardson, Middle School math teacher
Jeanne Kang, Lead school nurse
Nancy Linaweaver, Upper School science teacher
Angela Mackenzie, Director of Educational Technology and Library, Computer science chair
Mary Mayer-Grubb, Lower School visual arts teacher
Erin Moore, Lower School K-1 science teacher
Elizabeth O’Shea, math department chair
Lynn Ozonian, director of technology and innovation
Kellie Paul, Middle School math teacher
Emma Perry, school nurse
Laura Redman, Lower school STEAM teacher
Ashley Ricart, visual arts and computer science teacher
Jennifer Ross-Viola, Upper School science teacher
Chelsea Runge, Upper School math teacher
Corrine Samskey, Middle School math teacher
Masami Stahr, Upper School math teacher
Stephanie Windes, Middle School math teacher
Lauren Wood, school nurse
Girls in STEAM 2021 is for all girls in grades 4 – 12 in the Southern California area— those who are already advanced STEAM scholars and those who just want to check it out and learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts and math because the fields of STEAM need their talents, interests, perspectives and skills. The event will be held virtually via Zoom this year. 

Girls in STEAM was created by STEAM educators at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School to encourage girls into STEAM courses and academic paths because females in particular are underrepresented in advanced STEAM courses in high school and higher education and in professional fields of industry. Research shows that more diverse workforces, like having a gender balance, results in higher efficiency and more creative outcomes—essentially STEAM and the world need the perspective, talents, ideas and ingenuity of girls and women. Girls in STEAM has been a tremendous success, welcoming hundreds of future “women in STEAM,” from across Southern California and an incredible array of inspiring women leaders in their fields – engineers, scientists and researchers, medical doctors and nurses, computer programmers and technology, and entrepreneurs in conversation, collaboration and celebration of STEAM. Over the years, the event has included keynote speaker presentations, hands-on workshops and activities, break-out panel discussions by field, and a mentoring lunch, and presentations from UCI Grad Slam finalists
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
St. Margaret's Episcopal School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid, hiring and athletic policies or in other school-administered programs.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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