JACKSON TWP. On Nov. 22 at a special event at Stark State College, 83 young women from Canton area middle schools were encouraged to explore opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. The American Heart Association in Canton hosted an inaugural STEM Goes Red for Girls event in Stark State’s Business and Entrepreneurial Center.

Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The American Heart Association, a science-based organization, is striving to make significant changes to these statistics by empowering more women to seek careers in the sciences.

“The American Heart Association (AHA) has a great deal riding on women going into STEM related fields,” said Valerie Stutler, development director of special events for the American Heart Association of Canton. “Women are underrepresented in STEM fields and we need women voices in those fields, including the medical fields and especially since women experience heart attacks and strokes differently than men,” Stutler said.

She added that more women are needed as nurses, researchers, physical therapists, ultrasound technicians and doctors.

“We also need more women to enter fields such as finance, and IT and all the fields that support what AHA does,” Stutler said. “Another one of our goals is to have girls look more at fields that can offer them financial success and financial independence. Financial independence equals good health because people can afford to go to the gym, purchase healthy foods and see their physicians on a regular basis.”

A third goal Stutler added was AHA wants to help stop the brain drain in the county by offering a yearly event that shows the different career options in Stark County. A fourth goal was to share ways the girls can take care of their health by offering information on topics such as e-cigarettes, self-guided meditation to manage stress and healthy alternatives for food.

As the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer-driven, woman-led non-profit dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association’s STEM Goes Red for Girls initiative provides young women opportunities to come together and experience the exciting world of STEM, meet career mentors, network, and learn from established female executives who are paving the way for women in STEM careers.​

A few of the workshops and activities held during the event included: Hands only CPR; Don’t Give Up the Ship, where the girls built a boat to hold three golf balls and remain floating; guided meditation; Fact or Fiction; and Creepy Crawly Bridge. A lunch was provided and a STEM panel discussion.

Go Red for Women is nationally sponsored by CVS Health. Go Red for Women is locally sponsored by Altercare of Ohio, Aultman Hospital, Beaver Excavating, Hendrickson International, Hilscher-Clarke, H-P Products, Mercy Hospital, Stone Environmental and The Thrasher Group.

About Go Red for Women

In the United States, cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 1 in 3 women each year. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Since 2004, cardiovascular deaths in women have decreased by 30 percent. Go Red for Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health.

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.