Honoring Achievements from Women in STEM

Abbott celebrates the contributions from our two dozen winners at the 2020 Women of Color STEM Conference.

Strategy and Strength|Oct.12, 2020

Supporting and increasing the number of women and those from diverse backgrounds in the STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – fields is a passion at Abbott.

That's why we're proud two dozen of our female STEM employees were honored at this year's Women of Color STEM conference. In fact, we've had 69 women earn accolades since Abbott started participating six years ago.

Women of Color STEM recognizes outstanding STEM women, creating a forum where leaders can identify talented professionals at different phases of their careers. "STEM education and careers challenge us to confront what we don't know and solve problems through continuous learning cycles that start during our education and continue throughout our professional lives," said Karen Rodriguez, Division Vice President, Corporate Engineering.

Expanding Diversity in STEM

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."