STEM gets WISE

Panelists

Attendees sit and listen to the panelists.

Saturday, April 13th, 2013, Youngstown State University College of STEM held the 16th Annual Edward W. Powers Women in Science and Engineering Career workshop. The workshop, coordinated by Dr. Diana Fagan, professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, exposes young women to different careers within STEM.

This year, there were approximately ninety young women and around fifty volunteers that attended WISE. These girls ranged in age from middle school to high school and were from all over northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

These young women are introduced to science and engineering through speakers and panelists, as well as tours of the labs within the STEM College.

“Many young women do not have the opportunity to know women who work in STEM careers; and the careers are often misrepresented and misunderstood. It is hoped that at the Career day, the students can see the people behind the careers and be able to imagine themselves in those careers,” Dr. Fagan said. “I hope that the career day will spark an interest in careers they might not have previously considered and encourage them to start investigating those careers.”

WISE started sixteen years ago, when Dr. Fagan and Dr. Courtney Willis partnered with Women’s Studies to develop a day, based on the Tri County Community College, that would allow students to not only tour the university, but test out different careers. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Katie Glass, Senior Scientist for Proctor and Gamble. Among this year’s panelists were a veterinarian, an industrial engineer, and a planetarium instructor.

Throughout the afternoon, the girls toured the different labs in the STEM College. The girls were able to purify DNA, do computer modeling, make engines, and much more.

The event started with a small list of contacts from the Tri County Community College. Now, Many of the speakers and panelist are from local and nonlocal companies, as well as friends of previous panelists.