Leader Spotlight: Laura Reasoner Jones of GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science)

Q: Where do you live?

A. Franklin, Pennsylvania

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Q: Tell us about your organization.

A. When GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) was started in 1994 by a volunteer in northern Virginia, its goal was to encourage girls to take high-level math and science classes in high school to expand their college and career options. This club has now burgeoned to hundreds across the country and worldwide. GEMS has expanded its mission to encourage girls to pursue education and careers in all STEM fields, particularly technology, engineering and related high-paying, entrepreneurial enterprises.

The GEMS mission now is to ensure that a girl sees herself as a change agent or a problem-solver, a possible technology entrepreneur, engineer or a scientist, and as a person who makes a difference.

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Q: What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with other women looking to start an organization?

A. Explore your vision. Dream big and imagine what it could be if you have unlimited resources. You may have to start small, but keep that vision in mind so that you are always looking forward.

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Q: How can WorldWideWomen readers get involved in what you are doing?

A. Become a role model for girls in your community. Start a GEMS club of your own, using our downloadable toolkit. Encourage girls in your life to become all they can be, to explore and excited by technology and engineering.

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Q: Who is the greatest female influence in your life?

A. My mother, who raised 5 children alone, sent us all to college on scholarship, and encouraged us to do our best.

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Q: Please share with us something that you want other women around the world to hear.

A. It is never ever too late for a girl or woman to become interested in STEM--to try and learn new things. And, your words and actions matter. Girls are watching you and they need to see your best efforts.

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Connect with Laura and GEMS through their Facebook page!

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