St. Charles Public Library site of STEM discussion to be hosted by American Association of University Women

ST. CHARLES – The American Association of University Women will host a discussion on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math on Oct. 5 at the St. Charles Public Library.

State Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, will lead the discussion as keynote speaker. The panel also will include AAUW members Linda Robertson, who is running for the Illinois 65th House District seat, and Cindy Pederson, a consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency who will discuss STEM and the gender equality barriers surrounding it.

The event will be at 7 p.m. in the Carnegie Room of the library at 1 S. Sixth Ave. Pederson and Robertson will share their educational and career experiences in STEM fields and engage in discussion on the support for and protection of educational programs for girls and women.

“Although women make up nearly half of all employees in the U.S. economy, they hold only 28% of STEM jobs,” according to a news release from the AAUW. “Reducing barriers in STEM is a step toward advancing gender equity and increasing America’s global competitiveness.”

Foster will address legislative efforts to promote STEM public policy, including the STEM Opportunities Act and the Gender Equity in Education Act. Before becoming a member of congress, Foster worked as a physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Foster serves on the House Financial Services Committee, is chair of the Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and is the only physicist with a Ph.D. in Congress. His wife, Aesook, also is a physicist.

Pederson is an Institute of Nuclear Power Operations National Nuclear Accrediting Board member and was the first woman appointed to the position of regional administrator of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Robertson worked at Weyerhaeuser Research before being recruited by Nalco Chemical in Naperville. In her career, she earned 12 patents for novel ideas before moving to global consulting at the company she founded, International Microbial Associates.