STEM conference looks for increased participation

SPSCC is hosting Expanding Your Horizons 25th Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) Conference on March 1, 2014. Any women studying at SPSCC are encouraged to participate in the conference.

Participation can be through volunteering at the conference, joining the organizing committee, or referring anyone in a S.T.E.M. related profession to speak at the conference.

Katya Miltimore is the Development Manager for the College Foundation at SPSCC and is also the chair of the organizing committee for Thurston County’s S.T.E.M. Conference. We need more young voices and minds involved in the committee, said Miltimore.

The website for Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) said it is a network that inspires girls “to recognize their
potential and pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The EYH website said their network began in 1974, as an “informal group of women scientists and educators…who were concerned about low female participation in math courses.” There are 16 different S.T.E.M. conferences through EYH in Washington state alone.

The EYH webpage said their “ultimate goal is to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers ready to meet 21st century challenges.” Miltimore said EYH focuses on middle school aged girls to get them interested and exposed to S.T.E.M., so they have time to take those types of courses in high school and start focusing on a career path.

Miltimore said the Thurston County S.T.E.M. Conference lets the girls pick three out of 24 workshops to attend, each focused on a S.T.E.M. related topic. Then they are provided lunch and afterwards have keynote speakers. Last year there were 225 girls who attended the conference, she said.

Makenzie Devries, from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Olympia, joined this year’s planning committee. The YWCA is a non-profit organization that works to empower women. The YWCA has several programs for young girls which are focused on S.T.E.M. Devries said she wants to help out with this year’s S.T.E.M. conference because the missions of the YWCA and EYH overlap.

While S.T.E.M. fields are currently growing more successful, women are most underrepresented in these fields, said Devries. She said if more women get involved in S.T.E.M. fields, than the curriculum for them may change to better inspire women to explore those types of work.

To participate in the conference or for more information, contact Katya Miltimore at kmiltimore@spscc.edu.

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