Alexis Brandon, a Petroleum Engineering major at Montana Tech, is a student leader active in increasing women in STEM. To achieve this goal, she works with females of all ages to encourage involvement in the sciences. Lexi volunteers weekly at a local elementary school helping teach science lessons and volunteers as a mentor with the Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) program. GEMS works with 8-13-year-old girls and teaches them hands-on STEM activities. At the collegiate level she is president of the Society of Women Engineer's (SWE) chapter. She developed and implemented the "freshman engagement" program where members of SWE are there to meet and greet the incoming female students. This is particularly important at our campus where only 37% of the campus is female and 18% of the females are majoring in STEM. Her passion for volunteering and campus involvement has not detracted from her classroom achievements. She has consistently been on the Dean's List (GPA > 3.5) and she was able to secure a competitive summer internship with Marathon Oil as a freshman. Lexi is an outgoing and motivated individual that inspires her peers and young girls to see their potential and future in the STEM fields.
As a child, I always believed I could be anything I wanted to be; a doctor, an astronaut, or even an engineer. As a petroleum engineering major at a STEM institution I have had some eye-opening experiences. I have had male peers tell me I have gotten scholarships or internships because I was a woman and others have suggested I get a degree more "suitable for my gender".
These experience propelled me to fight the stereotype that women should only pursue certain majors or career paths. As the President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), I have increased events that support women on campus and fight negative stereotypes about women engineers. These projects have helped but I realized I needed to reach younger girls if I wanted to change stereotypes. To achieve this goal, I volunteer weekly with Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS). This allows me to support and encourage girls on their journey into the STEM fields. By encouraging more young women to pursue STEM degrees it will hopefully normalize and erase the false stereotype that girls "aren't good at math and science" and allow girls to believe they can be anything they want to be.