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STEM Education

I'm a woman in STEM who had to leave Oklahoma. My state must do better for women's health.

Sex education is so important because it helps women understand their bodies. We cannot make informed decisions about our health if we are not given clear scientific information.

91影视 Jones
Opinion contributor

I grew up in Houston, Texas. After high school, my love of science and math led me to pursue engineering.

Despite a system of exceptional universities with renowned STEM programs in my home state, I chose . The engineering program had small class sizes and lots of undergrad research opportunities, which were both big draws. And OSU came through for me, allowing me to double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering and create the launchpad for my career.

However, when it came time to extend my education, I knew was no longer the place for me. And it wasn鈥檛 because of a lack of quality educational offerings.

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Oklahoma seems to downplay women's health issues

One major factor in my decision to move away from Oklahoma was the way the state seemed to downplay women, especially the health issues we face. It seemed especially clear in the state鈥檚 efforts to deny access to comprehensive, evidence-based education about sexual health and reproduction.

Sex education is so important because it helps women understand their bodies. We cannot make informed decisions about our health if we are not given clear scientific information. Knowing the facts allows women to make their own decisions about when to have children, and helps them identify and avoid sexual abuse.

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In many ways, it seems a majority of legislators want to step in and make decisions about women鈥檚 health 鈥 including whether and how they can access contraception. I prefer to live somewhere that gives me the freedom to make these incredibly personal choices on my own.

My work puts me at the cutting edge of technology. But the actions of Oklahoma鈥檚 legislators and other elected officials make it clear they don鈥檛 share my commitment to the future.

Oklahoma lawmakers don't share my commitment to the future

I love everything that OSU and Oklahoma gave me. Sadly, to flourish, I 鈥 and many other people like me 鈥 have had to go elsewhere. Until the state changes its ways, the best and brightest will continue to establish their careers in friendlier, healthier environments.

I hope Oklahomans will demand their political leaders do more to encourage and support all women, but especially women in STEM. This is the key to creating a brighter future for all Oklahomans.

91影视 Jones

91影视 Jones earned two bachelor鈥檚 degrees in engineering from Oklahoma State University in 2019. She later earned a master鈥檚 degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. This column originally appeared in The Oklahoman.

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