Cultivating STEM

Women in STEM support programming at Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum of History and Science boasts a long record of exploring our region’s history and culture, but with the support of women in STEM, it has increased and diversified its science and technology offerings.

Next month, the museum hosts its second adult-only STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)-themed fundraiser, dubbed STEM-ILM 2.0.

On the evening of March 12, locals will enjoy a night of all-things-science, including science-themed drinks and food, exploration stations, connections with tech companies, and more.

“It’s not just a cocktail party and fundraiser,” says EMILY BOGAN (shown above on the left), a Cape Fear Museum Associates Board member and one of the event planners. “What this event does, is it gives companies in the community a chance to show the awesome tech they’re creating.”

Bogan works as vice president of product enablement and GTM at nCino. With a background in banking, she expanded her technological skill set by joining the fintech company.

“(nCino) put me in a more technical role,” Bogan explains, “and they said,‘It’s okay, we’ll teach you.’”

STEM-ILM 2.0 gives technology companies the opportunity to showcase their growth in products.

“You see that the town has created this hub for innovation,” Bogan says.

Her experience is perhaps indicative of a trend to encourage more women to join science and technology fields in the region.

DARCIE COOK (shown above on the right), the museum’s science content coordinator, whose mother was a chemical engineer, shares how the culture has changed over time.

“I think the barriers to women entering are becoming less, but now, the problem is retention,” Cook explains. “We can get girls into the industry and get them interested in science, but they may not find the same opportunities for them to stay.”

STEM-ILM 2.0 will support STEM education programming for Cape Fear Museum youth, which Cook helps curate. Since joining the team two years ago, the museum has increased its Girl Scouts programming.

“In the past, it just got overwhelmed by other programs,” Cook says, “but I really wanted to get that back on the calendar.”

Girl Scouts in the area participate in workshops two or three times a year in subjects such as robotics and space science. Cook and Bogan also express their desire to launch a program for girls to learn computer coding.

“I think it’s really a great time to be a woman in STEM,” Cook says. “The opportunities are much greater than they were for my parents . . . It’s a really exciting time to pursue what you’re passionate about.”

Board member Bogan shares the excitement for the industry and women empowerment in general.

“By making sure we have diversity on the board,” she says, “I really feel like this board and this team has done such a good job with empowering women.”

Several women will be featured at the STEM-ILM 2.0 event: Cook will host a make-your-own Dippin’ Dots ice cream station featuring liquid nitrogen; Katie Gloe from Corning Incorporated will demonstrate fiber-optic cables with cotton candy, and Tamika Leverette-McCall from KWHCoin will offer information about blockchain and digital currency.

For more details about the museum’s programs or to purchase tickets for the event, visit Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, and the event is from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to

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Categories: Women to Watch