Alena Zeni is one of the many seniors worldwide whose last year of high school is looking quite different from what they expected. Prom has been canceled; Providenceâ€™s iconic â€œsenior presentationsâ€ were carried out online; graduation will be a bit creative this year to say the least.
|Alena Zeni, Class of 2020|
|Alena (left) helps catch a wayward drone! (It was her
idea to use a sheet to catch it and thereby prevent crash damage.)
|Madison, Alena, Todd, and Ben:
senior members of the Providence
|Alena (upper right group) poses with her class at JPL|
Among many contributing factors for the gender gap in STEM fields, Alena cites gender-based micro-aggressions, stereotype threat, explicit and implicit gender-science biases, and the competitive, aggressive atmosphere where performance expectations are not conducive to work-life balance. To combat these challenges for women in STEM fields, Alena encourages companies to consider blind resumes in early hiring procedures, expand skills required to include stereotypical female strengths such as collaboration and teamwork, and actively ensure qualified women get deserved promotions based on merit. Alena brings her Christian worldview to her research, articulating man and womanâ€™s equal ability to image their Creator. As image-bearers, men and women are both called to create solutions for problems that arise in the world.
|Alena’s and Madison’s final project for the year|
|Alena’s design for her aircraft fuselage successfully printed!|
As Alena wraps up her senior year, her final project for the Engineering Academy involves designing a powered model aircraft with classmate and good friend Madison Malone. The duo are assembling their aircraft and planning on flight tests toward the end of May. Alenaâ€™s love for engineering is undeniably evident as she speaks with excitement to see her creation fly, citing many late nights and Zoom calls to navigate the design process in an unprecedented classroom setting.
Her final advice to younger students interested in studying engineering, math, or science? â€œDonâ€™t give up on the math. It can get really, really hardâ€¦ but once you have that moment where it all clicks and falls into place, it is so worth it.â€