GEMS club members work to empower women

Leaders reflect on influence of women in STEM during Women’s History Month


Ally DeLatorre ’23, Lauren Schinker ’23, Malia Fink ’23, and Peri Deroche ’23 at GEMS club meeting (GEMS Instagram).

Gabriella Rauf, InDepth Editor

The girls in engineering, math, and science (GEMS) club, is meant to be a safe and accepting place for girls or non-binary students at LT with an interest in science, engineering, math, or science (STEM), club captain Ava Hays ’22 said. It serves to connect girls with similar interests, who may feel alone in their higher level classes of math or science that are filled with mostly boys. 

“In hostile environments, like the classroom, you’re afraid to show vulnerability and ask questions because [classmates] think you don’t know [the answer] because you’re a girl, or you don’t know because it’s a really hard topic,” Hays said. “GEMS club gives you a safe space to ask those questions.”

GEMS club was created by a group of girls who were previously involved in STEM club, Hays said. At STEM club, most work is done individually, whereas GEMS is more collaborative. GEMS works to take on STEM subjects in a more approachable, less intimidating way. 

“It’s important for girls to find a community in STEM because we are the minority,” club leader Veronika Azevedo ‘25 said. “[The club] is a way for girls to become more comfortable pursuing STEM in the future.” 

Club sponsor Natalie Petrevski has experienced being the only female when she worked at an engineering firm, she said. Petrevski was often seen as both a consultant and an office assistant, taking on tasks of ordering supplies and cleaning common areas, even though this was not in her job description.  

“Women are underrepresented in STEM today and often have to go above and beyond the scope of their job requirements when they are in a STEM position,” Petrevski said. “However, I am hopeful this will not be the case in years to come.” 

As a club specific to girls, GEMS club leaders acknowledge the overlooked women in history, as well as those who have made a difference in the STEM field, Hays said. 

“It’s important for people to see all the contributions that women of all different backgrounds made to society and to finally appreciate them,” Azavedo said. “I grew up around strong women who were always under-appreciated and taken for granted.” 

Members of the club work to give girls the confidence they need to pursue a STEM career, Petrevski said. Through supporting one another, they stand up for equal treatment in the workplace.

“Self confidence is your biggest strength,” Azavedo said. “Walking into a STEM class that is filled with boys is definitely terrifying, but your different perspective is how we can create more diversity and lasting change in STEM.”