the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Alice Tao ’24
On Oct. 1 2022, I was honored to have attended the Perry Initiative outreach program at UConn hospital in Farmington, Conn. The Perry Initiative is committed to inspiring young women to become leaders in STEM fields such as orthopedic surgery and engineering. Women are drastically under-represented in both fields, and the Perry Initiative guides young women to explore them. I was shocked when our lecturer announced women make up only 20% of engineering graduates. Engineering is a field dominated by men in today’s society and when people think about engineering, an image of men wearing glasses comes into mind. There have been several studies that showed no proof that women cannot possess the skills needed to be successful in this field. Women have all the capability to become good engineers if they receive the proper education, training and employment as men do. Therefore, the Perry Initiative is determined to break that stereotype and encourage young women to be a part of the future of medical engineering.
“Even if after today, you do not choose to go into engineering or the medical fields, at least it is an educated decision.” I remember this sentence most clearly, the Perry Initiative provides a platform for curious young women to explore a potential path, and they encouraged us to write our own stories.
Throughout the day, we learned the different skills that a surgeon or engineer possesses. I practiced suturing, experienced mock surgeries and observed fracture fixation. We heard from both young female engineers in grad school and experienced pioneers who have had successful careers. Never in my life have I been so amazed by how ambitious the young women around me are. We each have a goal in mind to change the world, whether it’s through the STEM field or others. As a person usually interested in the humanities, I never thought engineering would be something I could be fascinated by. The Perry Initiative changed my perspective on the engineering field and reinforced the idea that I am capable of achieving anything. It was a life-changing experience for me and I strongly urge anyone in the Westminster community to apply next year.