Dr. Patricia Gordon Empowers Next Generation of Female Scientists at Archer Student STEM Symposium

Founder Director and Board Chair for CureCervicalCancer Delivers Keynote at Student STEM Research Symposium
The Archer School for Girls presented its annual Student STEM Symposium at its Brentwood, CA campus on Saturday, May 14. The Archer Student STEM Symposium is an opportunity for female, Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. This year, the event included 30 students from Archer and 27 students from 8 other L.A. high schools presenting their original scientific research. The event featured a poster session and formal presentations by student researchers, as well as a keynote address by Dr. Patricia Gordon. STEM industry experts served as judges for the Symposium’s annual RISE Award.

Patricia Gordon, M.D. (Harvard ’78, UCLA School of Medicine ’82, Cedars-Sinai Internship ’84) was a radiation oncologist for 27 years and currently serves as the Founding Director and Board Chair of the nonprofit CureCervicalCancer. She was a partner at Beverly Hills Radiation Oncology and served on the medical team at Beverly Hills Cancer Center. Dr. Gordon's commitment to saving women’s lives in the developing world brought her to a career as a non-profit leader and international women’s health advocate. Using the “See and Treat” method, she founded CureCervicalCancer (CCC), which trains local healthcare professionals to screen and treat women for precervical cancer. CCC has established 106 sustainable and ongoing CureCervicalCancer clinics in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Haiti, Guatemala, Vietnam, and training programs in rural China. Dr. Gordon was named a top 10 CNN Hero of the Year in 2021.

This year’s RISE Award judges included NASA JPL Mechatronics Engineer and Archer alumna Brooklin Cohen, Assistant Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount Max Ezin, and U.S. Procurement and Manufacturing Director for Who Gives a Crap Lynn Bresnahan.

“It was wonderful to welcome so many emerging scientists and engineers at this year's STEM Symposium,” said Jerilyn Neshek, Archer’s STEM Coordinator. Ms. Neshek organizes the symposium every year and notes the significance of the event. “The Archer STEM Symposium provides an opportunity for future female scientists to meet and network with like-minded women who seek to better this world through the scientific process. It is through these connections that women can empower each other in a male-dominated field. At the symposium, future female scientists and engineers share their unique research and learn from each other. This is where the seedlings of big ideas will begin to emerge.”

Women are still underrepresented in STEM. According to a 2021 article by the US Census Bureau, while women make up almost half of the U.S. workforce, women represent only 27% of STEM workers. While women make up nearly half of math and life and physical science occupations, they represent only around a quarter of computer workers and 15% of engineering occupations, which is the largest sector of the STEM workforce. 

Archer’s Annual Student STEM Symposium focuses on young women in STEM and provides them with a platform to share their work. Students who participate can also apply to receive the RISE Award, which honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Students who win the RISE Award receive a $2,500 prize. 

“This event is designed to expand interest in STEM among young women specifically, given that this is a field where women are still underrepresented. Quite simply, we need more women addressing the problems that only STEM innovations can solve,” said Head of School Elizabeth English. “Women bring an important perspective to how we take care of the world and one another, and we must give them the foundation to achieve in the STEM field at the highest levels.”
The Archer School for Girls admits students of any race, color, religion, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation or other legally protected status to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation or other legally protected status in its hiring or in the administration of its educational policies and programs, admissions policies, financial aid programs or other school-administered programs. 

The Archer School for Girls’ mission is to educate students in an environment specifically designed for girls. As such, the school will consider any candidate for admission who identifies as a girl. Once admitted to Archer, all students in good academic standing who abide by Archer’s code of conduct and who meet requirements for graduation will be eligible to receive an Archer diploma, regardless of any change in sexual identity or other legally protected status.