Cherokee Nation supports Million Women Mentors mission

by William Broman


PRYOR, Okla. — Cherokee Nation officials signed a proclamation Wednesday supporting the Million Women Mentors Native American Council’s promotion to increase opportunities for Native girls and women to study and enter STEM careers.

As part of the proclamation and partnership with the Million Women Mentors, the tribe pledged to mentor at least 500 female students a year with their pursuit of STEM-related education and careers.

“STEM careers are growing exponentially, increasing each year and outpacing increases in non-STEM careers. These careers drive new innovations in health care and natural resource development and increases to safety and quality of life. These career paths require rigorous studies and preparation, and without adequate mentorship, many students give up on attaining the skills necessary to pursue these careers,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, advisory board member of the Million Women Mentors Native American Council and certified public accountant. “With only 29 percent of STEM careers being held by a woman and even less by minority women, it becomes more vital that our tribe step up and provide our young Cherokee ladies with the support and resources to pursue STEM academic studies and career opportunities.”

The mission of Million Women Mentors is to support 2 million STEM mentors by increasing the interest and confidence of girls and young women to persist and succeed in STEM careers by 2020.

“I applaud the mission of the Million Women Mentors organization and commend Councilor Taylor for picking up the mantle and working diligently to present STEM opportunities to young Cherokee students,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “As technology advances and STEM opportunities increase, the tribe needs to position itself now to help our young people achieve success in those career fields. With Councilor Taylor’s leadership, we are certainly doing that more so now than ever before, and many young Cherokee boys and girls are going to benefit from her dedicated service.”

The Cherokee Nation’s efforts to promote STEM academic fields include providing robotics kits to dozens of schools within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction to encourage STEM activities.

The tribe is also building a new 469,000-square-foot outpatient health facility in Tahlequah, which will bring more than 800 new health jobs after completion in 2019.