Publish Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2021 12:30:33 -0700

Virtual Conference Encourages Young Women to Explore STEM at CHC


Faculty senate president and mathematics co-chair Brandi Bailes spoke to approximately 800 eighth-grade girls from Redlands Unified School District and encouraged them to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) beginning with a program at Crafton Hills College. The online event, held on March 5 and March 12, was hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Event organizers asked Bailes to share her own experience as a STEM professional, provide an overview about the opportunities for STEM students at Crafton, and ultimately encourage the young ladies to pursue an education and career in these traditionally male-dominated fields.

Bailes spoke candidly to the group explaining how female role models played an important role in her confidence as a student at Crafton. “I was terrified. But I had female instructors that really took me under their wing and said, you know it doesn’t matter where you start, you can go anywhere you want,” Bailes recalled. She credits the inspiration received from her female instructors with her success in graduating from Crafton, transferring to Cal Poly Pomona and earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied mathematics.

Bailes highlighted the opportunities for the women if they attend Crafton, explaining that “We’ve moved forward to help bring equity into STEM, and we’ve created an entire STEM center which allows you to explore without having to know where to start.” She also pointed out the support for STEM students in the classroom through embedded tutoring. “We’ve put tutors directly in the classroom, so that if you do struggle in a class, it does not become a roadblock,” said Bailes, explaining how the tutors attend each class with the students and are then able to help students understand course concepts and methods.Bailes explained how the College’s small size allows for collaboration amongst STEM faculty and programs. “We have a small college so we’re able to build classes together. Your math instructor talks to your biology instructor, who talks to your chemistry instructor. We have a community already built up and we’re inviting you to become part of that community,” emphasized Bailes.