March 8, 2011
Conference shows Utah girls that science is a great career path
In this exercise, you put a food item in a test tube and douse it with hydrogen peroxide.
“Awesome, eh,” the Utah Valley University assistant professor of biology told a roomful of girls Saturday. The peroxide bubbled into a pink foam as it enveloped a dollop of beef liver. “The one you have to be careful of is the blood because it gives a violent reaction.”
Jensen was among 45 women scientists and professionals presenting at UVU’s Expanding Your Horizons, an annual conference to encourage girls in grades 6 through 12 to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM areas in which women are underrepresented. At least 850 girls and parents attended, some arriving by bus from Monticello and other far-flung corners of the state.
Research has shown girls often abandon the sciences midway through high school, shrinking the pool of college-bound students interested in scientific and technological fields.
“There’s a stereotype that the smart kid is not the popular one — if you want to have a boyfriend, you can’t be smarter than the boy,” said event organizer Jennie Briggs, director of UVU’s Equity in Education Center.
Expanding Your Horizons is a nationwide effort to break down the walls that keep young women out of science. Another conference will take place in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
“The workshops are very interactive. The girls will learn what education it takes to be in that career, the potential salary and benefits, the pros and cons, and they will also have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity that relates to that career,” Briggs said. “A woman will work at least 35 years of her life. A lot will fall into ‘pink-collar’ careers. You don’t know what will happen in your career, so you have to prepare.”
A key part is going to college and graduating. And being driven by curiosity, according to keynote speaker Ellie Gates, who directs global management development for Adobe Systems.
To read the rest of this article from the Salt Lake Tribune, click here.Posted by: psilberman