YES Prep Public Schools

February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To commemorate this special day, we reached out to our secondary science content specialists and the director of our elementary STEM programs to share about the importance of women in science and how our families can encourage a love of science with their daughters.  

Caitie Evers, Science Content Specialist 

Caitie Evers - Science content specialist

Caitie Evers is the content specialist for biology, AP Biology, and seventh-grade science. She currently teaches AP Biology and is in her seventh year of teaching.  

Evers earned her Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science from Texas A&M and Master of Science in Diagnostic Genetics from UT MD Anderson.  In graduate school, she researched the development of a liquid biopsy technique for Thyroid Cancer, and her research is currently used as a diagnostic tool at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  

Outside of academics, Evers founded and runs a non-profit animal rescue in Houston. 

What is the importance of women in science? 

Growing up in a small southern town, I was often faced with the idea that my future would consist of marriage and staying at home. Instead, I fell in love with science and became passionate about making a difference in the world. Female representation in science is important for others to see they are capable of anything. Female representation in fields like medicine and research bring their knowledge and experiences to much-needed work for the future. 

Who is a woman in science that all our female students should know about? And why? 

As a female in science and animal welfare, Jane Goodall has always been an important scientist to me. She is a primate scientist who studied the animals while pushing for their welfare. 

And Gladys West! Even though she is technically a “mathematician.” She developed a lot of the math that led to the GPS which we all use! 

Why (and how) should families encourage their daughters to pursue a career in science? 

Encouraging students to go after their passions and reminding them that every field is a field women are capable of pursuing is so important. One way to encourage this is to ask what interests them, research careers that fit those interests and show the exciting careers that can come from science. Also, showing strong female scientists of all backgrounds. I would also encourage finding women in science around the community and asking if they would allow them to shadow them at their workplace. 

Why is science important to you and why did you decide to pursue it as a career? 

I learned early on in my childhood that science was a huge passion of mine. I loved the classes, loved reading books about science, and always wanted to be outside in nature or in a lab learning more. My parents encouraged this passion by showing me opportunities to shadow women in science. I quickly learned what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy in science. I continued this in college with a degree in science. I started as a biology major but took a lot of “fun” classes until I fell in love with forensics and working with DNA in a lab. 

Paige Hohos, Director of Elementary STEM Programs 

Paige Hohos - Director of Elementary STEM Programs

Paige Hohos is currently the Director of Elementary STEM Programs, leading our district’s implementation of the rigorous and equity-based Eureka Math and STEMScopes curriculums.  

Hohos has 14 years of experience in public, charter and private schools and has served in a variety of roles- from teacher to principal coach to curriculum consultant. Hohos is passionate about hands-on learning, constructivism in the classroom and student autonomy. 

What is the importance of women in science? 

Globally, we need more STEM professionals. One of the reasons this is a problem right now is because for years and years society encouraged men (white men specifically) into STEM fields while girls were (again, systemically) pushed into “pink professions” like teaching and nursing. As the global population expands and we need more doctors and computer programmers and engineers, white men alone aren’t going to fill that gap. 

Female success in the STEM field is set in motion early on, not just with exposure or confidence building (“You can be anything you want!”) or even providing multiple examples of women in science who look like them- but mainly starting with deep engagement in a rigorous science curriculum- one that is centered around hands-on inquiry, manipulation and synthesis of data, and critical analysis of the big ideas put forth by yourself and others. 

Who is a woman in science that all our female students should know about? And why? 

There are so, so many important female figures in STEM history to spotlight- from Ada Lovelace to Katherine Johnson. I think what is even more powerful is to ask the girls in our lives- students, daughters, etc. what they are passionate about and help them find a famous female to learn about. Does she love animals? She should know about the life and research of Jane Goodall. Does she love sports? She would love to learn about current superstar, Jo Hannafin. Does she love to build with Legos? She needs to know about the history of some of the most famous buildings in the world designed by women- like the Shard in London and Galaxy Soho in Beijing. 

Why (and how) should families encourage their daughters to pursue a career in science? 

Science is about inquiry. Before we can understand how things work or imagine up new inventions we must build, deconstruct, peek inside, and re-build…basically touch, touch, touch. This means we must give girls time to play, unstructured, with a variety of materials, and without fear of getting dirty or making a mess.   

And for things we can’t touch (think planets and cells inside the human body) it’s important that all children get to see models that are close to reality as possible. A scientific diagram of a planet is better than a cutesy, pink cartoon solar system. And looking at a planet through a telescope is even better than a scientific diagram. 

Why is science important to you and why did you decide to pursue it as a career? 

When I taught science as a fourth-grade teacher, I was doing a lot of experiments for the first time ever in my life. In my small Catholic school growing up, we didn’t have a makerspace or a mud kitchen or even really a fully equipped science lab. Science exploration was like a novelty, an extracurricular for me growing up, and when I realized it didn’t have to be, I became passionate about making sure my kids got exposure to the same experiences affluent kids have automatically just by attending competitive schools. 

Kendall Hughes Robinson, Science Content Specialist 

Kendall Hughes Robinson - Science content specialist

Kendall Hughes Robinson is a science content specialist. She currently writes curriculum for science 6, science 8 and AP Environmental Science while teaching at YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary.  

For the last ten years, Hughes Robinson has worked with students and teachers from grades five to twelve. She has served as a teacher, dean of instruction, and curriculum writer for YES Prep. She began her career with Teach for America Alabama before moving to Houston. She is a proud Centenary College alumna. 

What is the importance of women in science?  

Despite rapid progress in the recruitment of women into STEM-related fields, there are still fewer female scientists than male. Women bring a diverse perspective to some of the world’s most pressing issues such as public health and climate change.  

Who is a woman in science that all our female students should know about? And why?  

There are countless female scientists our students should learn about; however, in my work, Rachel Carson is certainly one of the most influential. She is in many ways the mother of the environmental movement, and her research led to a ban on several harmful pesticides.  

Why (and how) should families encourage their daughters to pursue a career in science?  

Families should encourage their daughters to pursue a career in science as there are countless, robust job opportunities. Families should have their daughters explore all the different options in the STEM field from engineering to coding to the medical field. When your daughter asks a question about something, probe her by asking, “how do you think that works?” or “can you think of a way to improve that design?” 

Why is science important to you and why did you decide to pursue it as a career?  

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been interested in the world around me. What started as a curiosity about bugs in our backyard was cultivated into a deep love for learning by my parents and science teachers. My high school chemistry teacher is who prompted me to learn more about the medical field and led me down this path as a science curriculum writer. 

Is there anything you’d like to share regarding women and girls in science?  

It can be challenging to be one of just a few women in your college science classes or in the workplace. Reach out to other women for mentoring, and don’t be afraid to ask them for help. 

At YES Prep, we encourage all our students to pursue lives of opportunity so that they can reach whatever they set their minds to. For our female students, we encourage you to break barriers and dream big, be it in science or whatever field you set your sights on.   

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