DALLAS (September 26, 2011) – Texas Instruments (TI) Fellow Wanda Gass and former TI Vice President Tegwin Pulley, were among the select group of women in attendance at the White House today for a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama about the importance of supporting and retaining women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The event highlighted the work of several national organizations to increase the pipeline for women in STEM, including the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation (NAPE-EF) work in Dallas Fort Worth that was funded by the TI Foundation, TI, the High -Tech High Heels Fund at the Dallas Women’s Foundation and the Boone Family Foundation.
The two Dallas women were invited in recognition of their individual efforts and the company’s long-standing support of women in STEM. The Texas Instruments Foundation recently provided a $413,000 grant to NAPE-EF to manage and expand the impact of the highly successful High-Tech High Heels (HTHH) program. HTHH was started by the Women of TI Fund, an organization founded in 2001 by 30 TI women executives who – concerned with the low number of women graduating with technology-related degrees – made personal contributions to fund development of the program.
Ms. Gass, one of the HTHH founders, said “STEM education is critical to building an ecosystem of innovation for our society. Our future depends on a future technical workforce that uses the talents of all of our citizens. The improvement of math/science education is critical to innovation and our country’s global competitiveness.”
“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone,” said Mrs. Obama. “We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”
The White House announcement also focused on the results of a 10-year project undertaken by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop best practices to provide workplace flexibility to women researchers who win research grants from NSF.
Ms. Pulley, another HTHH founder who serves as executive director of High-Tech High Heels and a consultant to NAPE-EF, said, “From my experience, when employees have flexibility to manage their work and personal lives, their commitment and productivity increase. I’m encouraged to see NSF embrace flexibility in their efforts to support more students, especially girls, pursue STEM degrees and to retain them in the STEM workforce.”