News

#girlSTEM conference to connect over 800 girls with STEM mentors

May 24, 2016

On Thursday, May 26, Bucks County's 6th annual #girlSTEM Conference will connect over 800 middle and high school girls with women currently working in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). #girlSTEM is led and coordinated by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22, is funded through the United Way of Bucks County's Women’s Initiative, and is hosted by Delaware Valley University.

Participants attend three 45-minute sessions and choose from dozens of hands-on, interactive activities. Girls will try out careers in STEM by participating in activities such as: extracting DNA from strawberries, building stable structures out of spaghetti and building prototype circuits using Arduino microprocessors. The highlight of this year’s event is a helicopter landing on the quad. Girls will get to watch a MidAtlantic MedEvac full of helicopter-based nurses and paramedics land on the quad and demonstrate what they do in emergencies.

The primary reason for the conference is to increase the number of women in STEM fields. STEM jobs are often high paying and in demand. According to the White House, women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men.
“STEM jobs are often male dominated,” said Dr. Lindsey Sides of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22. “ Research shows that, while women fill close to half of all jobs in the United States, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.”

Results of previous conferences have been encouraging. After the 2015 #girlSTEM Conference, 99 percent of participants planned to take more STEM courses in high school; 97 percent planned to declare a STEM major in college; and 98 percent planned to pursue a STEM-related career.

The #girlSTEM Conference is made possible by the generous support of:  Dow (Gold Sponsor); Bucks County Workforce Development Board, Comcast, PPL Electric Utilities, Parx Casino (Silver Sponsors); and Ann's Choice, BB&T, Huntingdon Valley Bank, and Wegmans (Bronze Sponsors).

For more information, please contact: Marissa Christie, from the United Way of Bucks County, at marissac@uwbucks.org