Sam McGreevy and Macy Sutton are two juniors at Oswego High School who saw a lack of representation in their classes. They noticed there were very few female students and they’re just getting fewer and fewer as the levels get harder and harder. During a facetime call between the two girls, they had the idea to start a club called Wonder Women.
McGreevy states, “what we want to do is focus on underrepresented minorities within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) community.”
Wonder Women are a group of young women who are involved in STEM classes, interested in learning STEM, or just simply wanting to give back to the community. Wonder Women are at OHS to provide a safe place for female students to come and study STEM and not feel judged by anybody else.
“We’re constantly asking and thinking of new ways to reach out to people who are underrepresented in our community and might need help,” McGreevy says.
Girls feel less confident in their abilities and feel like the odd one out because most people in science courses are going to be male. They wanted to create a space for young women to feel safe and to feel like one with the group, not like the odd woman out with all the men. A place to learn and feel confident in her abilities.
“We’re constantly asking and thinking of new ways to reach out to people who are underrepresented in our community and might need help.”Sam McGreevy
“We do activities, we plan activities, teach young women to be better leaders, lift others up, aspects of feminism that they can incorporate not only into their work lives but also their school and social lives,” McGreevy says.
The activities they do are called workshops, aimed at girls in sixth through eighth grade currently at participating middle schools, Thompson and Traughber. The workshops teach middle school girls about STEM in introduction workshops run and planned by the leaders. Each workshop has its own lessons and activities. Workshops range from water filtration, coding, to welding currently. The young women in the club come up with the activities showing leadership. The high school leaders need to know their content in and out. They are required to know all of the material to answer any questions if a girl wants to expand on an activity or lesson.
Not just the middle school girls are the ones learning, but also high school girls as well about careers.
Sutton explained how it was a “long process getting the club started and to find sponsor funding. We had to find sponsors who will pay for us to do cool activities.”
One of the sponsors is where Sutton and quite a few other girls in the club work at Keller’s Farmstand, owned by one of the girls family, Greta Keller. They ask their sponsor for money to the projects and workshops. In the beginning, it was slow getting all the background stuff collected and once everything was set up with the administration and everybody had to get the same meeting date it was smooth sailing. Mrs. Dillon, forensics and chemistry teacher also head of NHS, watches over the meeting, contributes ideas and give resources to the girls.
The girls even set up the period poverty drive, which they made flyers and little donation boxes to put around the school, so students and staff can donate tampons and pads.They decided to donate to the Hesed House in Aurora. Mrs.Dillon put it on the announcements and Mr. Nunamaker sent an email to students, staff, and parents.
Sutton says, “We thought the administration would not let us do it because poverty is kind of sensitive subject and a lot of public high schools, especially in district 308. But we approached Mr. Numamaker about it and he loved it, which was, I was kind of surprised honestly.”
“The period poverty drive we raised, which we raised around 150 boxes of tampons and pads, which is like almost double what we hit originally, set our goal for, which is incredible,” McGreevy continues. “So really this is what we’re all about is helping people and creating a safe place for girls to come in and be inspired and be themselves.”
“We’re all about… helping people and creating a safe place for girls to come in and be inspired and be themselves.”Sam McGreevy
Mrs. Dillon even offered NHS hours in exchange for donating products, which ended up resulting in a lot of guys bringing in tampons and pads. They did the math and a hundred boxes help about 180 women based on like averages of like period length and the number of tampons or pads used for a period.
Wonder Women are all about feminism, “every girl with a love of anything in STEM or has the interest to learn or to even like do volunteer work, do good in their community, should join,” Sutton says. “Female students should join no matter what type of experience they have with STEM.”
“What’s really important to me, looking back on my high school career within the STEM community in my engineering classes, I’ve been the only girl, you know, and several of my classes and it’s just sad to see a lack of representation in those fields. So no matter whether you’re in, you know, med topics, um, chemistry, physics, earth, and space, doesn’t matter what you’re into, we want you involved because we want to help increase representation within our school and help to inspire the younger generations to join our classes and our clubs related to STEM too,” McGreevy says.
The club hopes to see an increase of girls in engineering classes in the science department. They are excited for young girls coming in with that passion and not losing it. If you are interested in joining the club or further information contact Sam McGreevy, Macy Sutton or Mrs. Dillon. Meetings are every other Monday in room 141.