Getting girls excited about STEM careers

Apr 30, 2013

Girls will have an opportunity to hear from people employed in a variety of STEM careers May 16.

The third annual Girls in Focus with Technology (GIFT) Conference, an exciting initiative of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 (BCIU) will be held on Thursday, May 16 at Delaware Valley College from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.. The United Way of Bucks County Women’s Initiative is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

The GIFT Conference, which is open to middle and high school girls,  seeks to inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields by introducing them to women who currently have careers in those fields.

STEM jobs are often male-dominated. A 2011 report by the US Department of Commerce found that, while women filled close to half of all jobs in the United States, they held less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This issue contributes to the wage gap between men and women. The study found that women in STEM jobs were making 33 percent more than women in non-STEM jobs.

The girls will have an opportunity to hear from people employed in a variety of STEM careers. They will participate in seminars with professional women, hands-on workshops, and open forum discussions. GIFT also provides professional development for teachers to gain strategies to attract female students to STEM-related careers. The day will include workshops on topics such as: engineering, leadership, occupational and physical therapy, cable television, networking, programming, environmental science, robotics and user experience design.

The conference has been moved to DelVal from the BCIU Conference Center this year to accommodate a larger audience. The BCIU appreciates the opportunity to partner with DelVal to expose more young women to this exciting opportunity.

At DelVal, a high percentage of women are preparing for STEM fields. For students graduating during 2011-12, 66.4 percent of the women were in STEM majors (154 out of 232 graduates). For students enrolled full-time in fall 2012: 75.2 percent (807 out of 1073 women) were in STEM majors. STEM majors at Delaware Valley include programs such as: animal science, dairy science, food science, crop science, horticulture, environmental science, biology, zoo science, and chemistry.

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