“Crime Scene Sleuths,” “The Chemistry of Climate Science,” and “The Hottest Stuff on Earth: Plasmas for Fusion Energy” are just a few of the exciting hands-on workshops that some 400 girls from all over San Diego County took part in Saturday at the 10th annual Expanding Your Horizons conference at USD.
The event introduces young women from sixth to 10th grade to “local women scientists who are making a difference in the community,” explained Sue Lowery, conference co-chair and USD professor of biology. “We want them to imagine what it would be like to work as an engineer, computer scientist, biotechnology specialist, physician, systems analyst or a number of other different jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or (STEM).”
In addition to the various workshops, girls dialogued with mentors on how solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, such as storing solar energy, finding safe drugs that can react to differences in individuals and providing water to everyone who needs it.
There were also be programs for parents including college admissions requirements and finding affordable options to pay for college, as well as a discussion on “Want Your Daughter to Be an Engineer? Better Watch What You Say,” explaining how even subtle messages can discourage girls from considering STEM careers.
The EYH Network (formerly the Math/Science Network) started in 1974 as an informal group of women scientists and educators in the San Francisco Bay Area who were concerned about low female participating in math courses who began planning coordinated efforts to strengthen their individual programs and establish mutual support on a volunteer basis. Conferences are now held all over the country.
At the conferences, “we hope the students will meet women who inspire them and help them explore more how math and science can open up fabulous new avenues for them,” Lowery said.
– Liz Harman
For more information on the conference go to www.eyhsandiego.org.