Rodriguez, who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular biology and cellular biology from Northwestern University, is familiar with those challenges – and how to overcome them. She is one of the conference's Career Achievement award winners this year, nominated for her commitment to and advocacy for diversity across STEM.
Her goal is simple: Increase the number of female leaders in the STEM fields and support them. She mentors women and those from diverse backgrounds and encourages them to take management and technical roles in STEM.
Abbott's STEM diversity efforts include our award-winning high school internship program, which offers girls and students from diverse backgrounds much-needed STEM experience. This summer's intern class was nearly 70% diverse.
We've shared our experience building the high school program in the "Shaping the Future of STEM" blueprint – a detailed plan we hope other companies and organizations will use to create similar STEM programs.
Creating a network of role models who can inspire others and helping senior leadership identify exceptional talent are crucial, Rodriguez says, and examples of ways the Women of Color STEM conference helps companies foster diversity in these fields.
"I feel a sense of urgency to create change," Rodriguez said. "We need the best and brightest minds and the most passionate and committed hearts to pursue STEM careers and take on the significant challenges that face human society and our world."