The women’s basketball coaches at the state’s “big four” universities are participating in the first-ever “Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge.” It’s an effort to connect female students in high school and college with mentors who’ll encourage the young women to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math. Drake University Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield-Clubb is part of the recruiting effort.
“As a woman in a male-dominated field, I know first-hand how important mentors can be to building confidence, to building courage and to helping young people achieve their goals,” Hatfield-Clubb said earlier today.
In addition to the women’s basketball coaches at Drake, Iowa State, Iowa and UNI, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is also joining the effort.
“Coaches will reach out to their university, college and high school campus networks, including their fan base and media in their communities,” Hatfield-Clubb said. “This initiative will ‘tip off’ with the start of the 2014 basketball season.”
Female student athletes at the state’s “big four” universities are great role models for young women in middle school and junior high, according to Hatfield-Clubb. During an event this morning at the statehouse, Hatfield-Clubb announced two Drake University women’s basketball players have signed up to be mentors.
“I’d like to introduce you to our Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and information systems major Kyndal Clark and her teammate — three-year letter winner and triple major in biology, neuroscience and psychology Liza Heap,” Hatfield-Clubb said, as the crowd applauded and cheered. “These two outstanding women are the first two ‘commits’ we’ve recruited to serve as Drake University’s first two mentors for our commitment as a university to bring at least 100 mentors to the state’s initiative.”
A new public-private partnership called “Million Women Mentors – Iowa” has been launched, with the goal of recruiting 5000 Iowa adults who’ll encourage teenagers to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or math. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is the honorary chair of the effort and she told Clark and Heap they will be great role models for young women who might not be thinking about those kind of jobs.
“I can travel the state and talk about how exciting it is to get young girls involved, but for them to see someone like you standing there and encouraging them and seeing how successful that you’ve been not only in athletics but discipline and with your education career, too, that is just phenomenal,” Reynolds said. “It doesn’t get any better than that, so thank you so much — and encourage all of your colleagues to get out there and do the same thing.”
Out of every 100 women enrolled in college, only 12 are majoring in science, technology, engineering or math and, ultimately, only three will pursue a career in those fields.