Why are female meteorologists wearing purple today?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A look at why wearing purple on Pi Day is so important

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Today marks the third annual dress for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) day in a movement to showcase the need for more woman in STEM careers.

This year female meteorologists will be wearing purple to inspire girls to pursue higher education in STEM. Women in STEM careers and anyone else who would like to join in the solidarity, are encouraged to wear purple on March 14, “Pi Day.”

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“Women make up nearly half of the workforce, but hold only 24% of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math,” said event organizer, AccuWeather Meteorologist Julia Weiden.

WHIO Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs shares below her personal story about what #STEM day means to her.

ExploreMcCall Vrydaghs Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Bio Page
ExploreKirstie Zontini Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Bio Page

“Growing up I was always intrigued by the weather, especially this time of year. Nor'easters were bound to happen at least every winter living in New York, and that meant a lot of snow. I wanted to know why we saw snow, but my grandmother in South Carolina wouldn't. I soon started watching the news more, specifically to see Al Roker on television talking about weather. What Al was doing seemed like something I might want to do someday as well. I remember the day when I was in high school and told my parents I wanted to be a meteorologist. Their faces were filled with confusion and fear of how I could go to school for this unique field and make it a career, but they supported me 100%.

School was difficult at times. My courses not only included meteorology, but a lot of math and supporting sciences. Just to name a few: calculus 1,2 and 3; Physics; Chemistry; Differential Equations; Statistics...the list goes on and on.

I don't know if I really ever thought about how much work it was going to take to accomplish my goal and I'm glad I didn't. Had I known I may have been too scared to try because to me it always felt like boys were smarter. They were the ones taking the math and science courses. They were the ones that would become the scientist. The turning point for me was meeting a female chemistry teacher in high school. She had so much faith in my abilities. She was the one that pulled me into a higher level class and solidified that I was smart enough. That's when I gained the confidence in myself.

Coming full circle, my Chemistry teacher is what #STEM is all about. Supporting the younger female generation to work in a field that is dominantly male. Not because of trying to be equal, but because girls can be scientists too.”