International Day of Women and Girls in Science: ASU Prep leading the charge in STEM education

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Every year on February 11, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day is not just a celebration—it’s a global call to action. It’s a day to highlight the critical roles women and girls play in science and technology communities and the barriers they continue to face. It’s a day to remind ourselves of the importance of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, especially in the fields of STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Despite the significant strides made toward achieving gender parity in various sectors, women and girls continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. ASU Preparatory Academy is leading the charge to change this narrative by championing STEM education for all. At ASU Prep, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to explore the exciting world of STEM.

Woman coding on laptop

Influential ASU Prep role models empower the next generation of females in STEM

“The visibility of successful female role models in STEM is crucial for inspiring the next generation,” says Brooke Knighton-Toon, ASU Prep Digital Lead Science Teacher and ASU Prep’s Network Science & Engineering Fair Coordinator. Along with other female ASU Prep faculty, Knighton-Toon shows students that STEM is a field open and welcoming to all.

Carli Stiller, who teaches Cybersecurity as well as Principles of Engineering at ASU Prep Digital, says, “I am absolutely all about empowering girls and women in STEM. I create a safe space in my classrooms where everyone feels welcome to explore STEM subjects.” She does this by cultivating “a supportive community of peers and mentors who can guide, inspire, and help navigate challenges.”

Woman working in engineering

Knighton-Toon explains she creates a supportive environment where students are encouraged to explore: “I am available for my students to ask any questions that interest them in STEM. I do not always know the answer, but I am always willing to work with them to find it out.”

Her advice for pursuing STEM? “Be curious, don’t stop asking ‘why,’ and understand that what might be viewed as failure is often the best learning moment. Do whatever you can to keep asking questions, to keep asking why. Lastly, we can sometimes learn more for the points in time when we do not meet our own expectations; this is a great opportunity to ask why and seek further knowledge.”

Stiller adds, “Don’t let ANYONE tell you that STEM isn’t for you! Follow your curiosity, your passion, and don’t be afraid to tackle the tech stuff!”

Female students learning STEM

ASU Prep curriculum makes STEM accessible for all

Today, more schools are prioritizing STEM education in order to meet the needs of a new generation of students and a world increasingly dependent on STEM.

ASU Prep’s curriculum is designed to do just that. We emphasize hands-on learning, encouraging students to experiment, solve problems, and think critically—skills that are essential in any STEM career. ASU Prep Poly STEM Elementary is an example of ASU Prep’s mission to immerse students in STEM-centered learning from an early age. Whether it’s building a robot or collaborating on solutions to conserve Earth’s resources, young scholars are solving real challenges.

Knighton-Toon explains that ASU Prep is working to make STEM accessible to all students, including in-person lab experiences for digital biology and chemistry students. She’s also pleased to have been awarded a grant for this year’s Science and Engineering Fair to help break down the financial barrier students often see concerning STEM education.

Stiller adds other opportunities available to ASU Prep students: “We have a Girls Who Code and Gaming Club, where students can dive into coding and gaming with friends. Plus, this semester, our own Stephanie Crow is leading a group of students in the Lockheed Martin Coding Competition. There is also a really cool cybersecurity competition open to everyone in March! Finally, we have our annual Hour of Code event that is open for students to participate in, and they can choose to host a session as well.”

Girls learning about STEM

ASU Prep provides real-world STEM experiences

ASU Prep is propelling students toward a promising future by integrating real-world STEM experiences into their educational journey, equipping them with practical skills and knowledge needed in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

ASU Prep Digital is taking on a new adventure with an educational trip to Brazil that bridges STEM education with real-world learning experiences.

Six ASU Prep student interns from various Prep campuses around Phoenix participated in an internship program with Pipeline Design & Engineering. They earned high school credit while also gaining practical engineering skills development and invaluable real-world experience.

ASU Prep Global joined Peoria Unified School District’s MET Professional Academy in an innovative global business and entrepreneurship partnership that paves the way for students’ career readiness in high-demand STEM fields.

Learn more

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, ASU Prep celebrates the achievements of our female students and faculty in STEM. We also reaffirm our commitment to promoting equality in STEM, confident in the knowledge that our efforts today will lead to a more equitable and inclusive STEM community tomorrow.

To learn more about how ASU Prep is leading the way in building a future where everyone has the chance to explore, innovate, and make their mark on the world of STEM, visit our website.