SARASOTA- It’s National STEM Day, an effort to help students get interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and math, and according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up only 28% of the science and engineering workforce.

Female Surgeons sat down with High School Girls to encourage them to stick with what could be a challenging field.

“I really hope to learn about the medical field and the steps to taking that path,” North Port High Janika Stokling said. “As I get older and prepare for college, as I get older and prepare for college.”

“It’s always helpful to meet someone else who has done that,” Urogynecologist Katrina Davis said. “Because it increases you’re ability to believe that you could do that, and also to discuss with them, what are the challenges how did they get there.”

Especially when just 20% of general surgeons in the US are women.

“There aren’t many women in surgery in general,” Colorectal Surgeon Riva Das said. “And so I think it’s really important for these young women who have such bright futures ahead of them, and have that interest early on to meet other women potentially in the field they want to go into.”

Dr. Katrina Davis says she chose to surround herself with supportive people. 

“Both of my parents were teachers,” Dr. Davis said. “And they spent a lot of energy surrounding me with mentors, probably starting with Junior High School. I would spend my summers shadowing people, all my summers were spent on a college campus.”

Dr. Riva Das says more patients desires are changing, and more women need to join the field.

“I think a lot of people men and women alike seek out women surgeons now,” Dr. Das said. “Because they have both the empathy and the technical ability, and that’s not something that men are always as good at.”

Dana Molina says speaking with women in the industry makes her even more excited to study STEM fields in college

“The passion and perseverance they have to continue in this line and field,” Molina said. “And this area, even though they find so many setbacks.”