With needle and thread in hand, the young participants of the Expanding Your Horizons conference were learning how to stitch. But in lieu of craftmaking, these future scientists were learning to suture wounds from women faculty at the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine.
That was just one of the exciting sessions at the UIW-sponsored science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) conference for girls in grades 6 through 8.
Workshops – all conducted by women leaders in STEM – included music in mathematics, DNA extraction, augmented reality and more, and also introduced attendees to concepts of physics, medicine, chemistry, biology and computing.
“We partner with women inside and outside the University who work in STEM,” said Dr. Theresa Martines, assistant professor of mathematics. By sharing their paths, middle schoolers discover how to succeed from women who have done it.
Young women from UIW undergraduate programs play a vital role as well. As volunteers, they guide participant groups, get to know the girls and become mentors. “At the end of the event, the girls are so excited about science, and to see the undergraduates turn into women leaders in STEM is amazing,” says Martines.