What’s your favorite subject? In a survey taken across 67 countries, 49% of girls had science or math as their best subject. Yet, only 27% of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the U.S. are female, and just 18% of American computer-science college degrees are pursued by and awarded to women.

Everest Collegiate High School & Academy was pleased to present Moving Up – Full STREAM Ahead, a 6-member panel of successful women utilizing their unique STREAM gifts in their various fields and professions on Monday, March 4. Fourth through eighth-grade mothers joined their daughters for this morning event to continue the conversation about their daughter’s passions and talents and how she can pursue her dreams. This event was part of Everest’s co-curricular STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program which aims to prepare students to enter these fields which integrate the truths of faith and beauty in all these subject areas.

Moderated by Everest parent attorney and founder of The Cronin Law Firm, Sabrina Cronin, panelists included: Tonya Berry, vice president of operations of Consumers Energy; Laura Wilborn, IBM Watson Customer Engagement Executive and Everest parent; Kay Browne, who has been actively involved in ministries and charitable organizations in the Detroit area for years including Ladies of Charity, the soup kitchen, and the Missionaries of Charity; Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of The NEXT Education and Everest parent; Dianne Ahern, Patron of the Arts and children’s author; and Bethany Phyle, wealth advisor as UBS and Everest parent.

Panelists answered questions about their career paths, their mentors, and the challenges they have faced in their careers. Each of the panelists spoke about how their faith played an important role in their career regardless of their specific field. Tonya Berry explained how Consumers Energy is a service-oriented organization and this shapes much of what they do. Bethany Phyle explained how STREAM provides a lens which allows women to be more well-rounded regardless of their field.

Students were excited to hear Elaina Farnsworth talk about autonomous cars and Laura Wilborn talk about cognitive computing and the potential it has for healthcare and other fields.

Panelists spoke about work-life balance and the importance of motherhood for them. When asked what advice they would give a younger version of themselves, Kay Browne encouraged students to pay more attention in class, value their friendships, and not to forget to have a little fun along the way. Dianne Ahern, who spoke about her own struggles with an undiagnosed learning disability and how she was able to go on to overcome it and find success, encouraged students to ask more questions and to work hard to overcome social pressures.

Students had the opportunity to ask panelists questions about their challenges, favorite science experiments, and doubts. Prior to being dismissed to class, students also heard from Everest Collegiate High School junior Kate Funke who is actively pursuing opportunities in STREAM fields. Kate shared the opportunities she has had and encouraged students to follow their passions. Everest moms joined panelists for brunch to conclude the morning.

Many thanks to our sponsors: Titan Wealth, Oscar W. Larson, and Redford Lock.

“Preparing students to enter STEM careers in the future is not enough. Moving from a STEM to a STREAM curriculum model requires planning and staff development. The integration of Religion and the Arts into STEM content areas merges 21st century teaching and learning with the timeless truths of faith and beauty in all of the subject areas.” –National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)