Providing professional development for the next generation of

innovators in science & tech.

The Issue

STEM job positions preselect for white men with a “nuclear family” lifestyle. This means that the structures of workplaces, including professional development trainings, cater toward this demographic’s needs. Because the current workplace and educational system is structured to support this demographic, everyone else faces obstacles toward thriving in their education and career. Many leave STEM, leading to the well-known “leaky pipeline” issue.

The question remains: how can STEM fields be restructured so that anyone could choose to participate?

While changing the systems and structures of our schools, organizations, and companies is essential to eradicate inequities, in the meantime survivors and targets of harassment and bias need support. 

What are The STEM Thrive Guides?

Just as the workplace and educational system is built for white men from middle to upper socioeconomic status with a nuclear family, so are professional development trainings. While it is easy to find coursework on how to write a resume, how to public speak, or how to network, until recently there have been little to no trainings on navigating bias and harassment even though the majority of people will experience it in their careers. Furthermore, the trainings on topics such as networking are written for this narrow demographic rather than people who have been historically excluded from STEM.

The STEM Thrive Guides are professional development trainings designed to provide this “missing curriculum” for all professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and fill in the gaps to provide relevant guidance without gaslighting.

The Mission

The mission of The STEM Thrive Guides is to provide support to targets of harassment by raising awareness that:

  1. Targets of harassment are not alone. 
  2. Harassment is normal (unfortunately) and a form of oppression.
  3. Everyone deserves to and has a right to feel safe and comfortable at work and school. 
  4. There are resources that can help one reach justice. 
  5. The majority of organizations’ efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion are forms of gaslighting, and what the real solutions are. 

The Origin Story

As Jill Pestana, the founder of The STEM Thrive Guides, pursued her career in physics and engineering, she faced obstacles that have led many people to leave the field including workplace bias and harassment. When her career was nearly derailed by an advisor gaslighting her in graduate school, she dedicated herself to learning the root cause of harassment in STEM and developed practices to navigate difficult workplace situations. She packaged the lessons she learned to survive in a STEM career, and created The STEM Thrive Guides in 2020 while in quarantine to share these skills and knowledge.

For more information on Jill Pestana, please visit jillpestana.tech.