Congratulations to the amazing honorees for #CXSTEMMYs19. Today, CX acknowledged all the ways these inspiring women break barriers and create new paths for women in STEMM.


Lesley Martin is a teacher at Staley High School in the North Kansas City School District. She carries a passion for the betterment of children in education and their success. Lesley is aware that some female students fear failure, but she reassures her students that it’s okay to make mistakes. “I am passionate about the STEMM field because of the world we live in,” Lesley says. Throughout her 18 years of teaching, she has witnessed the rapid growth of STEMM in the education system. Lesley believes that it’s important to be exposed to computer science because computers are everywhere. She values promoting women in STEMM. “I believe to have any kind of authentic project or idea, you need to have diversity. It’s important that we get more women involved in STEMM fields,” Lesley says. 


Mikayla Bridgewater has always been a curious person, which is how she gravitated towards STEMM. “STEMM is important in our everyday life because it affects our well being and allows us to give back to the community,” Mikayla says. She values ‘paying it forward’ because if it weren’t for people paying it forward to Mikayla, she wouldn’t be in the position she is in. Mikayla is the president of the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at the University of Kansas (KU), where they focus on promoting black excellence throughout the community and in education while raising awareness in STEMM. “I want to make STEMM space where people feel like they could be welcomed,” Mikayla says. “No one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself first, so believe in yourself and watch the magic unfold.” 


Panela Leung is the founder of Generation Maker Lab, a STEMM educational school and workshop space for children. Panela’s passion is to awaken the spirit inside of every child to do whatever it is they’re good at. Her creation of Generation Maker Lab is generated from all of her experiences and connections in the STEMM field. Generation Maker Lab works to bring children’s ideas to life and encourages them to have confidence in their own ideas. “Being an entrepreneur is hard because you have to believe in yourself in a way that most people who don’t own their own businesses ever have to,” Panela says.


Wendy Hageman works within the aviation group and business/product development for Burns & McDonnell. “I believe promoting women in STEMM is important because STEMM fields are making this world a better place,” Wendy says. Wendy believes that women have a significant impact on the development of our world, especially as we progress into this world using science and technology. She is inspired to step up and be a role model for other women in STEMM fields. “I want to make a difference…especially in another woman’s life,” Lesley says. “I hope whenever I leave the room that people feel good about themselves because of something that I did, that they feel like they can accomplish anything.” 


Dr. Yugyung Lee encourages students to consider computer science and STEMM as a future career because the job opportunities are significant. Yugyung believes that we need better support from the community, especially as a mentor. “Don’t just give up the beginning because everything needs time,” Yugyung says. Being an educator is a meaningful job for Yugyung. “Female students need a role model, and we need more recognition in STEMM. I really appreciate the STEMMY award for me to continue and students can see their future through us,” Yugyung says. 


Learn more about the STEMMy’s here.