Parker achieves excellence in Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — At the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, fostering an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is an integral part of the university, especially in young women. Markesha Parker, an industrial engineering major from Milwaukee, Wis., has completed her third semester as an assistant for the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program. The goal of WEMS is to create a more diverse, competitive and balanced workforce by encouraging young women to pursue STEM-related fields.
“Being an assistant makes it easier for me to meet people, and through the programs that we do, we try to get young women interested in fields where women are traditionally underrepresented,” said Parker. “Working with this organization has helped me communicate better with others.”
Parker has worked on a variety of projects for WEMS including Sky’s the Limit, the Luncheon Program and the Pioneer Connections Program. She also began work on the EMS Ambassadors Program this year.
“In the future for WEMS we would like to launch a program called Exploring the Sky,” said Parker. “This program would entail young girls coming to campus to do hands on projects and meet with professionals in these fields. Sometimes, it can be discouraging as a young woman in a STEM field because they are so underrepresented. We want to support these young women and help them break down barriers and explore their own horizons by exposing them to these fields.”
Parker added that her own interest in engineering was prompted by her love for mathematics in high school. She chose UW-Platteville because of the engineering program and how students are able to get one-on-one time with their professors and advisors. She recently completed courses in Human Factors, Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Mechanics and Materials.
“You have to push yourself in these disciplines,” Parker said. “I was on the verge of dropping Mechanics and Materials, but later I found a study group that met three times a week and I had a professor who really pushed us to learn the material. I always shoot for As and try to do my best in my courses.”
Parker gave up her place on the Fusion X Dance Team in order to devote more time to her studies. She is considering adding a mathematics minor to her education because she thinks it will make her more marketable as a job applicant as well as broaden her educational horizons. She has goals of being a part of a respected industrial company or possibly starting her own.
“My biggest piece of advice to young women interested in pursuing a major in a STEM field would be to never give up,” Parker said. “Never say you can’t until you try. You never know what your capabilities are until then, because that’s how you discover what your weaknesses are and how you can overcome them.”
Contact: Markesha Parker, Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, email@example.com