UW-Platteville to offer programs for young women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

February 26, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is renown for its focus on fields relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and also places a heavy emphasis on the importance of gender diversity within these fields. The Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Program is hosting three upcoming events designed to allow young women to explore STEM fields before beginning their secondary education experience.

“The young women who participate in these events have the chance to gain role-modeling from college students and professionals as well as build confidence in themselves,” said Tammy Salmon-Stephens, director of Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science. “A large percentage of the young women who attended our programs told us that not only would they come again, but they would also recommend a friend to participate as well.”

Pioneering Your Future, which began over 16 years ago under the direction of the Continuing Education office and then later by the Advising and Career Exploration Services, will be held Saturday, March 16 as career exploration in STEM for girls in grades six through eight. The registration deadline is March 9. It will feature hands-on, interactive career sessions that will give participants an idea of the types of professions that involve problem solving and experimentation.

“Kim Sargent, special programs manager for the Women in EMS Program, has done a great job of coordinating and collaborating with other STEM offices on campus to create an outstanding day of fun and engaging activities,” said Salmon-Stephens.

Dreaming of the Sky is a part of the Sky’s the Limit trilogy of programs and is designed for young women in grades 7 and 8. It will take place from Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 17 and will include participation in the Pioneering Your Future program. Throughout the weekend, participants will have the opportunity to work in teams to complete hands-on projects that promote diversity and inclusivity, learn about how careers in STEM fields help society, and interact with STEM professionals. This year’s Dreaming of the Sky program will energize participants’ futures. Participants will conduct experiments to explore what electricity is and how batteries work, as well as create a small robot with a motor and LED light bulbs. Also to be discussed will be how electricity is currently made and what sustainable options are available for the future.

The third section of Sky’s the Limit, Exploring the Sky, will take place from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28. It is a program designed for young women in grades 9 and ten and will focus on how to use engineering to survive. After being hypothetically stranded on a deserted island, participants will have to figure out how to live in their new environment by using hands-on activities and emphasis on such areas as personal hygiene, water filtration systems, power sources, waste, food and more.

“What makes this successful is the combination of people who assist in making it all happen, from Media Technology Services to the Women in EMS Student Assistants, to external STEM professionals who assist in bringing real life examples to life for the participants,” said Salmon-Stephens.

Dr. Kristina Fields, associate professor, Dr. Christina Curras, special assistant to the vice chancellor for Administrative Services, and Dr. William Hudson, Dean of the College of EMS, have been essential in working with the Women in EMS office to support the programs, according to Salmon-Stephens.

“Women are needed, and these programs can give them the chance they need to explore what they can do,” Salmon-Stephens said. “Diversity finds solutions that work and everybody brings something different to a team.”

“STEM fields offer good opportunities to have a career and a life balance,” said Jaclyn Esqueda, special programs manager in the Women in EMS Program. “Young women can see how they will help society and make a difference in the world around them.”

The Women in EMS Office hosts several events each year to give young women in middle and high school a chance to explore opportunities in STEM fields. The third Sky’s the Limit program, Reaching for the Sky, is designed for young women in grades 11 and 12 usually takes place in the fall. Women in EMS will host a Career Day on Monday, Oct. 28 for young women in grades 8 thru 12. Current UW-Platteville engineering faculty and students facilitate the program.

Anyone interested in attending or learning more information about any of these programs can go to the Women in EMS webpage, uwplatt.edu/wep. Additional questions or comments regarding participation can be directed to Esqueda at esquedaj@uwplatt.edu or (608) 342-7158.

Contact: Jaclyn Esqueda, Women in EMS, (608) 342-7158, esquedaj@upwlatt.edu

Tammy Salmon-Stephens, Director of Women in EMS, (608) 342-1563, salmont@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville Office of University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, obrienan@uwplatt.edu

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