J.P. Morgan partners with Singapore University of Technology and Design to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers

14 Nov 2022

The five-week program that concluded today equips 100 female secondary school students with design and problem-solving skills, enabling them to create prototypes of their solutions to tackle real-world challenges.

A hundred female secondary school students completed today a five-week program that saw them apply design solutions and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to real-world problems. Career Connect, a global program by J.P. Morgan, was launched for the first time in Singapore, in collaboration with the Design Innovation team of DesignZ at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The program here aims to inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM and provide them with insights into these field.

The program also offered the secondary two students from seven schools – Admiralty, Bartley, Beatty, Bendemeer, Fuchun, Northbrooks and Peicai – mentoring sessions with up to 80 J.P. Morgan employees from various departments, from finance to technology to legal.

The Career Connect initiative aligns with J.P. Morgan’s vision of building inclusive societies and empowering the next generation of female professionals and leaders in the financial services and technology world.

“At J.P. Morgan, we believe that instilling a love for learning and passion for STEM subjects from an early age is critical to building a more diverse workforce of tomorrow. This is especially important given the challenges that many girls may face in their daily lives,” said Wai Mei Hong, senior country officer of J.P. Morgan Singapore. “We believe the exposure to STEM-related fields and the opportunity to interact with mentors through the program will allow the students to gain different perspectives that can positively impact their career choices and options.”

Funded by J.P. Morgan, the activities-filled curriculum developed by SUTD put the girls through design workshops, where they created prototypes of their solutions to solve challenges that were adapted from the United Nations sustainable development goals.

By introducing STEM to girls at an early age, the program aims to address a gender gap in the industry. The lack of gender equity is most apparent in engineering and information technology education, where only 21% and 29% of tertiary graduates are women. This gender imbalance is amplified in STEM related research and development, where women make up only 20% of the workforce1. A 2021 research by United Women Singapore2 also found that the window of opportunity for keeping girls interested in STEM subjects is around 15 years of age, as one in three girls surveyed would change their mind from STEM to non-STEM subjects at the age of 15.

“Imagine a world where all our youth, no matter their background, demographics, or circumstances, are provided with fun and positive experiences in career opportunities that will change their lives and future of our world. Career Connect, based on a partnership between J.P. Morgan and SUTD, is one such program in Singapore,” said Professor Kristin Wood, Design Innovation Director at SUTD. “A hundred Singapore young ladies from secondary school laughed, played, and shared their joy as they explored design innovation and unique STEM experiences. I am so proud of the SUTD Design Innovation Team and J.P. Morgan leadership in creating and executing this transformational program for our youth! The young ladies that completed the program are absolutely amazing and represent the future leaders of our amazing country.”

Using their newfound STEM skills in 3D printing, Computer Aided Design modelling and using microcontrollers, the students brought their prototypes to life in a showcase event held at SUTD and attended by their mentors today.

“I never thought I could code a tune with microcontrollers,” said K Levina, a Bendemeer Secondary School student. The 14-year-old girl aspires to be a lawyer. “Even though I’ve always been more keen in the humanities, this experience has taught me useful STEM skills that can equip me for an increasingly digital world. My conversations with my mentor and guest speakers from J.P. Morgan have encouraged me to have a stronger mindset to get to where I want to be. If something doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. The program has taught me that no matter how dire a situation or how difficult a problem, a solution always exists if we try hard enough to find it.”

For the J.P. Morgan mentors, the experience of serving as role models for the students and sharing their own journeys was a motivating and fulfilling experience.

“It’s encouraging to see how, even in a short span of time, the girls have already started to grow more confident in what they want to achieve,” said Aravind Bettadapura, a vice president with J.P. Morgan’s technology team and Levina’s mentor. Bettadapura has a 14-year-old girl of his own, and has volunteered for other similar initiatives as a mentor.

“Every child is unique as an individual,” he said. “The important thing is that they realize that life’s ups and downs aren’t insurmountable, and that they learn to balance daily issues and challenges. I can already see that the girls are becoming more focused and opening themselves up to explore opportunities they didn’t realized were there before.”

1  https://www.ntu.edu.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/powers/ntu_powers_stemgendergapinsingapore.pdf

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America (“U.S.”), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.8 trillion in assets and $288 billion in stockholders’ equity as of September 30, 2022. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S., and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally.

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