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summer proves a season of opportunity for women in STEM

2 min read | march 05, 2024

Through a Chevron-sponsored program, women are being given an opportunity to develop skills that can be applied to higher education.

Simenu Chowdhury was hungry for knowledge when she entered the Asian University for Women’s (AUW) summer program. With the lift of an arm, she found it.

“One of the things I learned in the program was that if I want to know the answer to a question, I have to ask,” she said.

The annual Bangladesh program gives women like Chowdhury a chance to forge science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

“The teachers here are so friendly; the environment is beautiful,” said Chowdhury, who hails from a small town called Kawkhali in southwestern Bangladesh. “This is a fantastic opportunity.”

“If I want to learn, then I have to raise my hand and seek to learn.”

simenu chowdhury

AUW summer program participant

why it matters

Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM, constituting just 35% of graduates in related fields, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Nujhat Jahan, AUW summer school coordinator, said the program’s goal is to give more women a better shot at acquiring STEM jobs.

“Students are often scared of sciences, so they go into humanities or commerce instead,” she said. “We want to get these women excited about science.”

Students from Asian University for Women’s (AUW) summer program

Last year, 50 students from 21 districts took part in the Chevron-sponsored program.

a success story

Zishrat Hasan was among AUW’s first graduating class in 2013. She now works as a health, safety and environment (HSE) specialist for Chevron Bangladesh and frequently advocates for the school’s merits.

She believes its summer program can help young women develop skills to apply to higher education, both within Bangladesh and abroad.

“I am proud of Chevron’s partnership with AUW in this exciting summer science school. I believe it encourages young Bangladeshi women to engage in STEM education for their future chosen paths.”

zishrat hasan
health, safety and environment specialist
chevron Bangladesh

more on that

The AUW program encompasses a month of education at its Chittagong campus in the country’s southeast. Participants are given a place to stay and access to modern classrooms with labs and IT facilities.

Aspiring engineers and scientists are taught by visiting teachers from elite schools, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University. Students who perform well are invited to enroll at AUW as undergraduates.

Chevron’s support of the AUW summer program includes merit-based scholarships for some math, science and computer programming students.

Khondoker Tusherujjaman, social investment manager for Chevron’s Bangladesh business unit, said the nation’s government is working to give more women such opportunities.

“If one sister, one daughter, can have a chance at a higher education, they can be an inspiration to their whole family,” Tusherujjaman said. “They could even be an inspiration to society, to the country. They can solve meaningful problems facing the whole world.”

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