Expanding Your Horizons conference to support women in STEM

While STEM careers, jobs and education have increased by growing amounts in recent years, the amount of women in these fields are greatly outnumbered by men. To help women on these paths, Edmonds Community College (EdCC) is working with the American Association of University Women to put on a national conference for girls in grades 8-12, encouraging them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

There’s only a limited amount of space for this conference, called the Expanding Your Horizons Network (EYHN) field trip on March 22nd. The deadline for sign-ups in March 14th.

There will be a keynote speech by Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, an astronaut who works and studies in Seattle. Lindenburger’s passions for science education include, but are not limited to, geology and entomology. She started as a high school science teacher, and eventually found the NASA Educator Astronaut Program through students questions. Soon she was selected as a Mission Specialist and spent two years in training.

According to the EdCC website, there are 31 different workshops on topics such as using forensic science to catch criminals, studying earthquakes, nursing, robotics and many more. There is a full list of the workshops on their website.

In 2013, more than 200 girls registered for EYHN Conference and 82 percent of them said that because of the workshops they attended, they were considering a career in STEM, according to EdCC.

Participants in 2013 took a survey after the conference, giving their workshops and presenters a 1-10 rating, with 1 being poorly done and 10 meaning that their expectations were exceeded. 93 percent of participants rated at least one of their presenters a 9 or 10, and 43 percent said that at least two or more of their workshops were a 9 or 10. After the EYHN Conference in 2013, 90 percent of participants indicated that they would attend the 2014 conference.

According to EYHN, their goal for the conferences is to act as a gateway for girls with a STEM background to see themselves in STEM careers as adults.

During the EYHN conference, girls will interact with successful females in STEM careers. They also want girls to experience the fun and relevance in STEM careers while participating in hands-on activities. The purpose of EYHN is to support young girls and women who are in or want to pursue a STEM career pathway.