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Women in STEM Conference Expected to Draw More Than 500 to UW

May 9, 2016
Women in STEM Conference 2016
The Women in STEM Conference, scheduled on the University of Wyoming campus May 17 from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., is expected to draw more than 500 junior and senior high school female students from across the state. (UW Photo)

It may have a new moniker, but the intent is the same.

The Women in STEM Conference, scheduled on the University of Wyoming campus May 17 from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., is expected to draw more than 500 junior and senior high school female students from across the state. The conference is designed to spark students’ passion in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields; and provide the students mentors and role models. The conference formerly was known as the Women in Science Conference.

“The name was changed from Women in Science to Women in STEM this year to be more inclusive,” says Michele Turner, program coordinator for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, which is a major supporter of the event.

During the day, participants will engage in 26 hands-on workshops and lab tours. Volunteers from UW and regional organizations will present workshops on a variety of science and technology-related topics. Workshop presenters come from the following institutions: UW faculty and students, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Nature’s Educators, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Tata Chemicals, Teton Raptor Center, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

 A number of workshops will take place in the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility, which opened Jan. 25 for the UW spring semester. The three-story, 107,000-square foot facility -- located on the northwest corner of campus -- is home to most freshman- and sophomore-level science lab courses.

 “I think we’re going to have a lot of workshops in the new building and try to highlight that facility,” says Shawna McBride, senior research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

 The Women in STEM Conference offers hands-on activities along with the opportunity to meet professionals who do “science” on a daily basis in their careers. 

 One student, who previously attended the conference, stated, “I liked meeting new people, experiencing hands-on activities, and becoming more knowledgeable about the medical and plant professions.” 

 Another student mentioned that what she liked most about the conference was, “people willing to share their stories, and getting young people interested in science.”

 Major supporters of this year’s conference are: Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, UW President’s Office, Wyoming INBRE, Wyoming EPSCoR, WYSTEM, College of Engineering and Applied Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Ecosystem Science and Management, Tata Chemicals and the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.

 This year, students from the following communities will be participating: Big Piney (Big Piney Middle School), Casper (Centennial Junior High School and CY Middle School), Cheyenne (Johnson Junior High School, St. Mary’s Catholic Middle School and South High School), Douglas (Douglas Middle School and Douglas High School), Glenrock (Glenrock Middle School and Glenrock High School), Goshen County School District 1 (Lingle-Fort Laramie Middle School, Torrington Middle School, Torrington High School and Southeast School), Green River (Green River High School), Lander (Lander Middle School), Laramie (Laramie High School and UW Lab School), Lusk (Lusk Middle School), Mountain View (Mountain View Middle School), Pinedale (Pinedale Middle School), Rawlins (Rawlins High School), Wheatland (Wheatland High School) and Wyoming Virtual Academy.

The conference will receive an added bonus, courtesy of the Wyoming Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Symposium that is occurring that same day on campus.

“A few vendors will do demos with robots and drones,” McBride says.

During a luncheon, a few Wyoming teachers and students will be recognized with National Center for Women and Information Technology Awards for Aspirations in Computing, McBride adds. Winners were chosen based on their computing-related achievements and interests, solid leadership ability, good academic history and plans for post-secondary education.

For more information and details about the Women in STEM Conference, go to the website at www.wyomingspacegrant.uwyo.edu/WomenInSTEM.asp.


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Chad Baldwin

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