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Engineering Graduate Inspires Steminist Movement

Holli Rosdail

I thought a scholarship funded by the students would have a bigger impact, promoting an encouraging environment on campus among women in these challenging fields

Holli Rosdail started a scholarship while she was a student at Cal Poly Pomona, but it’s not “her” scholarship. The pronoun matters.

“I never wanted it to be ‘my’ scholarship. I wanted it to be ‘our’ scholarship,” she says. “Anyone who assists in any way is a contributor. I haven’t put in any more of my money than anyone else, just a lot of my time.”

The time she put in has paid off. Rosdail, a member of the Class of 2015, started the Steminist Scholarship for female STEM majors during the winter quarter and has raised more than $500, which will be given in two $250 scholarships for the fall quarter.

She did that by selling Steminist shirts on campus and online, emphasizing that theĀ  scholarship is funded by peers cheering on each other.

“I thought a scholarship funded by the students would have a bigger impact, promoting an encouraging environment on campus among women in these challenging fields,” she says.

The movement was inspired by her own experience.

After transferring to Cal Poly Pomona in 2012, Rosdail noticed a lack of women in her first upper-level electrical engineering class.

“I remember everyone in the room was staring at me, and I felt so out of place and embarrassed,” she says. “For the rest of the quarter, I tried to blend in.”

Once she felt secure in her major, Rosdail wanted to create a campus community where women in all STEM majors- science, technology, engineering and math – feel welcome.

Her leadership prowess also was evident as the president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

“She not only pursued high academic achievement, she also saw the value in student development, which made her a great student leader,” says Cordelia Ontiveros, advisor for the Tau Beta Pi and associate dean for the College of engineering.

Men and women have reached out to Rosdail to continue the movement and establish a Steminist club starting in the fall. In addition to selling shirts, they will reach out to local schools to encourage girls to go into STEM fields.

Rosdail started as an electrical design engineer at Chevron in August, and she’ll continue to be part of Steminist and help out in the background.

“I really valued community in my last couple of years, so I wanted other girls to have a community, too,” she says. “Now, I have a bunch of people at school who are willing and ready to help.”

Published on November 4, 2015

Impact Map

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The Impact Map shows how Cal Poly Pomona alumni are making a difference in Southern California and around the country. Explore the map or share your own impact.

Explore the map

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