EWU student's viral letter brings attention to sexism in STEM fi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU student's viral letter brings attention to sexism in STEM field

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Jared Mauldin's letter has gotten national attention. Jared Mauldin's letter has gotten national attention.
CHENEY, Wash. -

A little over a week ago, a Eastern Washington University senior in mechanical engineering felt like he had to say something so he published a letter to the editor in the college newspaper, the Easterner.

“I see a lot of the subtle things day to day,” Jared Mauldin says.

He wrote a letter to the editor about the sexism he's seen in his engineering classes and in the STEM field in general.

“I felt like I was not seeing any guys stand up and saying it,” he says.

The short article caught national attention and been shared online thousands of times.

“Kind of threw me into the spotlight unexpectedly, but it's been worth it,” Mauldin says.

One example was his male classmates passed over or ignored his female classmate, time and time again, even though she scored better or did better.

“Holly is a math genius.”

Holly Jeanneret, that classmate, says “My heart warmed up to know that someone was paying attention and someone cared about the fact that women in STEM face other challenges besides homework.”

She says when she was in high school, she was discouraged from math, and didn’t find out she wanted to pursue math until later in life. Now she’s working on applying for grad school and she wants other girls to be encouraged to go into the hard sciences.

“If you're curious, if you like solving problems, you have what it takes to do it. You can do it."

And Jared? He wants the conversation to continue.

“I want to see more guys paying attention to the subtle things they do,” he says. “I want to see people listening and thinking about what they say and how that's going to have an effect on somebody else.”

The letter Mauldin wrote in full reads:

“To the women in my engineering classes:

While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal. Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal?

I did not, for example grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills. In grade school I never had to fear being rejected by my peers because of my interests. I was not bombarded by images and slogan telling me that my true worth was in how I look, and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought to masculine. I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender. I have had no difficulty whatsoever with a boys club mentality, and I will not face added scrutiny or remarks of my being the ‘diversity hire.’ When I experience success the assumption of others will be that I earned it.

So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.”

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