Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science program hosts Career Day

November 27, 2013
Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Career Day

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Program recently hosted its annual career day for girls in grades eight through 12.

The Women in Engineering Career Day is what ignited the Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Program at UW-Platteville. This annual event started over 16 years ago, creating the support for Women in EMS and EMS Advising from the university administration.

This event is a one-day experience for girls to come to campus and participate in hands-on, engineering-related projects. Through the projects, the girls learn more about all of the different engineering disciplines. UW-Platteville faculty and students lead all sessions.

During past career days, all participants would participate in activities related to eight different engineering disciplines. This year, the career fair switched to a conference-style format where seven sessions were offered, two times each, and participants could pick the sessions they wanted to attend. The eighth session was a browse fair of majors outside of engineering, including math, animal science, nanotechnology, biology and more.

Thermo Fisher Scientific sponsored this year’s event. They contributed financially and also had five representatives at the event to meet the students and demonstrate some of their equipment. “The partnership with Thermo Fisher really added value to our event, allowing us to provide a high-quality program and allowing participants to meet and interact with role models from the industry,” said Jaclyn Esqueda, special programs manager for Women in EMS.

Usually, teachers from around the area bring school groups to the event, and some individual students come on their own or with parents. This year there were 90 students and 17 chaperones who attended the career day. “We typically cap the attendance at 90 students to ensure that everyone is able to participate and be engaged in the activities,” said Jaclyn Esqueda.

This event also included a lunch with two keynote speakers. The first speaker was Natasha Wagner, a senior industrial engineering major. The second was an industry professional, Susan Ottmann, vice president and general manager of the Molecular Business Unit at Thermo Fisher. Their speeches offered words of encouragement and inspiration for girls considering future careers in STEM fields.

Kim Sargent, special programs manager for Women in EMS and EMS Advising, was the primary coordinator for the event. “In order for the U.S. to be competitive in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, it needs a gender diverse workforce,” she said. “Women make up more than half of the population; yet comprise only 28 percent of the workforce in science and engineering fields. Women’s under-representation in STEM can have a negative impact on the United States’ ability to be competitive in a global society due to the loss of talent and innovation that a diverse perspective in the workforce creates. This is one of the many reasons why we think the Women in Engineering Career Day is so important. It is our goal to get more young girls interested in engineering and help them realize the opportunities that are available for them in the STEM fields.”

Contact: Kim Sargent, EMS, (608) 342-7137, sargentki@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Megan Schmidt, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications,
(608) 342-1194, schmidtme@uwplatt.edu


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