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UW’s Women in Science Conference to Host More Than 500 Students from Wyoming

May 8, 2014
Woman teaching a group of people
Jamie Crait, a former UW doctoral student in ecology, (standing, left) leads a workshop at the 2012 Women in Science Conference. Students identified various animals by examining the creatures’ skulls.

More than 500 female high school and middle school students from Wyoming will converge on the University of Wyoming Tuesday, May 13, to discover their potential future -- one that may very well include a career as a scientist or an engineer.

The 15th annual Women in Science Conference, which will take place at various UW locations from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., is designed to raise female students’ interest and excitement in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) -- career fields typically dominated by men. The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium organized the symposium.

Participants will engage in 33 hands-on workshops and lab tours throughout the day. Volunteers from UW and regional organizations will present workshops on a variety of science and technology-related topics. Workshop presenters represent the following institutions: UW faculty and students, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Teton Raptor Center, Western Wyoming Community College, and local business and industry. Coloradan Susan Marie Frontczak will return again this year and perform “Mary Shelley” during the final assembly. Last year, she presented “Manya, The Living History of Marie Curie.”

This year, campus tours also will be offered.

“From a study conducted in 2000, we know that U.S. children start out leaders in fourth-grade assessments and, by high school, are almost last. Part of the problem is that many girls in junior and senior high school lose interest in scientific careers,” says Michele Turner, program coordinator for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium. “Our goal with the Women in Science Conference is to directly address this problem by providing these students with the opportunity to attend hands-on workshops in various STEM fields and spark their passion for science, technology, engineering and math, as well as provide them with mentors and role models. We hope to encourage them to continue their education and pursue careers in the STEM fields.”

“I liked meeting new people, experiencing hands-on activities, and becoming more knowledgeable about the medical and plant professions,” said one student who attended last year’s event.

Students from 22 schools are expected to attend this year’s conference. Schools are: Big Piney (Big Piney Middle School), Casper (Centennial Junior High and CY Middle School), Cheyenne (South High School, Johnson Junior High and Noah Webster Christian School), Chugwater (Chugwater High School), Douglas (Douglas Middle School and Douglas High School), Glenrock (Glenrock Middle School and Glenrock High School), Goshen County School District 1 (Torrington Middle School, Torrington High School and Southeast Schools), Green River (Green River High School), Jackson (Jackson Hole Middle School and Jackson Hole High School), Lander (Lander Middle School), Laramie (Laramie Junior High and UW Lab School), Rawlins (Rawlins Middle School and Rawlins High School), Shoshoni (Shoshoni High School), Wheatland (Wheatland High School) and Wyoming Virtual Academy.  

Workshops are scheduled in the following campus venues: Classroom Building, Physical Sciences Building, Biological Sciences Building, WWAMI lab, Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, Aven Nelson Building, Energy Innovation Center, UW Art Museum, Wyoming Union and Agriculture Building.

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