Conference designed to spark girls’ imaginations

Girls STEM Conference Future Engineers- teamwork 11-03-18

GIRLS IN SIXTH THROUGH NINETH GRADE will have the opportunity to take part in several different hands-on STEM-inspired sessions, including engineering teamwork (pictured), during the third annual Sheboygan Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan Foundation Girls STEM Day Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus in Sheboygan on Saturday, Nov. 2. – Submitted photo

In an increasingly high-tech world, the search for the next generation of innovative minds in the vital STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math is vast, continuous and ever-changing.

In an effort to introduce and engage sixth through ninth-grade girls to the wonders of STEM, Sheboygan Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has joined with the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan Foundation to hold the third annual Girls STEM Day Conference Saturday, Nov. 2, at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus, located at 1 University Drive in Sheboygan, Wis.

The conference, which runs from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., features 12 different STEM-inspiring sessions, along with a presentation from keynote speaker Lauren Sammel of Johnsonville LLC., from 8:30-9 a.m.

“Our goal with the Girls STEM Day Conference is to encourage young girls to discover, explore and learn from STEM field experts in a wide range of specialty areas related to careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” AAUW, Sheboygan Branch Member and Girls STEM Day Conference Chair Dolcye Johnson said. “Since 2006, AAUW has taken on an initiative to empower girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. This initiative has taken several forms on a national level. Here in Sheboygan County, we are doing it through this conference.

“We started the Girls STEM Day Conference three years ago and 84 girls attended last year,” she said. “Our goal is 100 girls this year. This year we will offer a keynote speech and the girls can choose four out of 12 hands-on STEM-based sessions.”

The conference features an impressive list of STEM field experts, including Sammel, who is the director of Sustainable Swine Resources, a division of Johnsonville LLC focused on porcine material and co-products businesses. With over 15 years of experience in the meat industry, Sammel has led and advanced innovative technical solutions for growth, quality and cost management opportunities.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to choose four of 12 available 45-minute STEM sessions, which cover a diverse range of topics including robotic surgery (Robodoc), paleontology (Digging for Clues), computer software design (Hello World), simple electronic circuits (Squishy Circuits), applied chemistry (Chem Demons), DNA science (What is DNA?), forensic science (Forensic Science), solar energy (Here Comes the Sun), veterinary science (A Look Inside the Biovine Hide), robotics (Robotics Challenge), drone photography (Drone Photography and product development and sensory science (Sensory of Slices).

“We have a wonderful group of expert presenters, who are working in these STEM fields with many years of experience,” Johnson said. “We have middle school and high school teachers, professors, police officers, veterinarians, engineers, product managers and developers and business owners that will be leading the STEM sessions.

“The presenters are genuinely happy to teach these sessions and the girls are so eager to learn,” she said. “It is fun to witness all the excitement that these sessions generate. The best thing is that they are all hands-on too. The girls actually get to experience what it is like to do these types of careers. Seven of our presenters from last year asked to come back this year. In addition, several brand-new sessions are scheduled to debut this year.”

Two parent sessions will also be featured. Former Sheboygan Police Department Detective Tamera Remington will present a parent session on Human Trafficking from 9:15-10:30 a.m. and the other parent session titled College Prep 101, which will be led by UW-Green Bay staff, runs from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

“Detective Remington has been giving presentations on human trafficking to large audiences and we are very happy to have her join us,” UW-Sheboygan Foundation Executive Director and Development Director Allyson Meredith Olivier said. “The college prep session will cover college courses, tuition costs and many other topics related to enrolling in college.”

The registration fee is $10 per student, which includes lunch. Scholarships are available for those unable to cover the fee. The deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 25.

To register or for more information on the Girls STEM Day Conference, or call UW-Sheboygan Foundation Executive Director and Development Director Allyson Meredith Olivier at 920-459-6612 or Sheboygan Branch AAUW member and Girls STEM Day Conference Chair Dolcye Johnson at 920-458-5819.

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