March 11, 2019
On March 11th, 2019, Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives, Lee Llambelis, attended a special screening of the movie Wonder Park and spoke on a panel with girls interested in STEM careers and women professionals working in STEM/STEAM Education. The panel discussion took place at the Regis Cinema on West 47th Street following the screening of Wonder Park. Panelists included representatives from the Pinkerton Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Diva’s for Social Justice, the Girl’s Scouts, Beammath, Build NYC, the Intrepid Museum, the NYC Department of Design and Construction, Cooper Union, and students from the Young Women’s Leadership School. Students were able to network with NYC STEM Network members to discuss STEM opportunities and internships. The professionals shared strategies for encouraging girls to participate in STEM. The panelist shared their experiences studying and working in STEM/STEAM education.
Wonder Park is a colorful, animated film featuring positive messaging around girls in STEM and promoting creativity, collaboration, and open-ended problem-solving. This inspirational film is designed to excite young women, their families, and friends to the possibilities inherent in STEM and educate young women about career opportunities in STEM, specifically engineering, fields. The screening was hosted by The Network for Youth Success, and the National Girls Collaborative Project, She Can STEM campaign, which encourages girls to pursue their STEM passions by challenging obsolete stereotypes and surprising girls with how cool, and inspiring STEM can be. The animations highlight the creative, fantastical worlds that girls can build using to STEM to build, create and change the world.
Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent whimsical, "splendiferous" amusement park. The wildly creative June has a maker spirit and excels at engineering, building and math. One magical day, June is running through the woods to find her way home when she discovers an old rollercoaster car and climbs inside. She suddenly finds herself in Wonderland, an amusement park she had created in her mind and had put aside. All her rides and characters are brought to life but are falling into disarray without her. Now, with the help of her fun and lovable park characters, June must put the wonder back in Wonderland before it is lost forever.
“Young people cannot be what they cannot see. If girls can see it, they can be it," said Deputy Commissioner Llambelis. "Wonder Park brings a fun, inspiring story of a STEM superstar to girls across the country to encourage them to consider a path in science, technology, engineering, and math. Wonder Park shows how engineers are problem solvers who create and fix things and that is a very powerful message. Failure is not an option. In fact, in the world of engineering, FAIL stands for a First Attempt in Learning, added Deputy Commissioner Llambelis.
Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the U.S., but they only constitute 25 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, and this path continues through high school and college, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.