Mary Bird Perkins Encourages Young Women in Natchez to Pursue STEM Careers

Natchez medical physicist meets with local students to discuss careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

NATCHEZ, Miss. – In recognition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Feb. 11), women who work in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, met with local students to discuss these professions. The presentations were meant to empower female students to pursue careers in STEM.

Jennifer Voss
Jennifer Voss, medical physicist, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Natchez, meets with students at Cathedral High School following her STEM presentation in February.

At Cathedral High School in Natchez, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center medical physicist, Jennifer Voss, discussed her role in STEM. She explained the various elements of her job at the Cancer Center and what led her to a career in this field. Voss also talked about career opportunities in STEM and issues women have historically faced in this field. Throughout her presentation, Voss highlighted how, through her position at Mary Bird Perkins, she continuously encourages more women to join in the fight against cancer.

“Due to arbitrary biases, many young women have been discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM,” said Voss. “However, working in a complex field like cancer care requires the expertise of everyone – no matter their gender. So, if you’re a young woman, don’t limit yourself. Study hard and do great things.”

According to the United Nations, despite women representing 33 percent of all researchers, only 12 percent of national science academy members are women. Women only account for 28 percent of engineering graduates and 40 percent of computer science and informatics graduates. All the while, female researchers tend to have shorter careers and earn lower incomes.  Women in STEM are often underrepresented in high-profile journals and more frequently get passed over for when it comes to job promotion opportunities.

Presentations were also held at the Cancer Center’s Covington location by Meredith Bechac, registered dietician.


About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at 10 centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Hammond, Houma, Opelousas, Slidell, and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area encompasses southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi regions. Mary Bird Perkins has a strategic affiliation with OneOncology and the largest radiation and medical oncology groups from across the area including exclusive partnerships with Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group, which provides radiation therapy throughout Mary Bird Perkins’ service areas, Northshore Oncology Associates, serving St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, specifically the communities of Covington and Slidell and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates, which services the Greater Baton Rouge area. For more information, please visit