Ambassador Lynda Blanchard Remarks at Women in STEM Roundtable


Good afternoon and thank you so much for joining me for this very special event.

I’d like to extend a special warm welcome to Dr. Binsted, who we’re very excited to host this week. She is such an incredibly accomplished scientist, and a fantastic ambassador for our country.

And Dr. Stojmenova Duh (stoy-MEN-oh-vah dooh), I thank you for your relentless advocacy on behalf of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

I’m sure many politicians and ambassadors probably say they’re glad to be at events, but I promise you all that this event is especially significant for me.

Before I was an ambassador, I was a humanitarian. Before I was a humanitarian, I was a businesswoman. And before I was a businesswoman, I was a math and computer science student, struggling to make my way in the world in a field dominated by men.

When I was coming up, it was even less common for a woman to dedicate themselves to math or computer studies than it is today.

Like every woman in this room, I understand all too well that gut feeling that you just don’t belong.

It’s not easy to be a woman in these fields. It is hard to persevere. But thank goodness Dr. Binsted, Dr. Stojmenova Duh, and the rest of our panellists did, because look at how much we’ve benefited from their hard work, and that of others like them.

So to all of the women here today who have come so far, and to all of those hoping to make the journey, I commend you.

You are the next generation of women in STEM.

You are the next generation of leaders.

And you are the next generation of hope for the young girls who follow in your footsteps.

I am the mother of seven children, including five young women. And I’ve always told them that they can do anything they put their minds to.

That they can achieve greatness through dedication and hard work, no matter their gender.

This is why I am so incredibly pleased to host Dr. Binsted, who can share such an amazing breadth of experience in her scientific career—from teaching computers how to make jokes, to studying the long-term effects of space travel on humans, she’s an inspiration to me, and an ideal role model for young women like my daughters, who might be searching for a place in these fields.

The United States and Slovenia share a love of science, a desire to innovate and excel, and a dedication to making our countries stronger through knowledge. We are so pleased to have supported Dr. Stojmenova Duh on our IVLP program that helped her channel her passion for learning and leading.

And we’re happy to be able to share Dr. Binsted as she shares her experience with so many of our friends in Slovenia.

We are privileged to be part of this event and to all of our panelists, thank you for your leadership.

And now, I’m happy to turn the floor over to this afternoon’s impressive panel.