Montana Middle-School Girls to Attend STEM Career Workshops at UM

April 20, 2015

MISSOULA – Western Montana middle-school girls will gather on the University of Montana campus on Saturday, April 25, for the second annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference. The full day of science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – career workshops, organized by the UM Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, will feature 21 workshops hosted by female STEM professionals from UM, as well as local STEM businesses and organizations.

The EYH Network, based in Oakland, California, provides conference framework and assistance in 31 states and in Europe and Asia. The UM EYH Conference is one of three hosted in Montana. STEM role models and hands-on activities are designed to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers, ready to meet 21st-century challenges.

Kim Lund, a consultant with Advanced Technology Group, loves her job. “I remember losing interest in math at about sixth grade because we were led to believe that’s what boys were good at,” she recalls. Lund, and her co-worker, Carey Davis, will teach students what business and IT consultants do to improve everyday technologies through hands-on activities that explore students’ business analysis and project management skills. Lund insists that these girls “need to know that there are powerful careers out there – that they can do amazing things and they can start now.”

UM geosciences graduate student Caitlyn Florentine will teach about physical properties of ice and help the participants simulate glacier motion. “My grandma was my source of inspiration,” Florentine notes. “She earned a degree in chemistry in the 1940s, when there were so few women scientists.” For Florentine it’s important to participate in EYH because she wishes to teach the young women to “support one another, be determined and don’t be shy about loving science, technology, engineering and math.”

Lisa Blank, UM curriculum and instruction professor who is directing the conference, is thrilled women from the community have stepped forward to act as professional role models for girls attending EYH.

“We have such an exciting array of workshops ranging from meeting the flight crew of the MedStar Air Ambulance helicopter after it lands on the UM Oval to exploring structural stability with architects from CTA Architects engineers,” Blank said. “We couldn’t sponsor this event without the generous contribution of these STEM professionals. Missoula truly is a STEM-positive community role model for the state of Montana.”

Additionally, UM student-teacher candidates will act as workshop moderators and group guides.

The April 25 EYH Conference is sponsored by SHAPE P-20, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, UM’s PJW College of Education and Human Sciences, spectrUM Discovery Area, Western Montana Area Health Education Center and UM.

For more information about the EYH Conference, visit http://www.missoulagirlsstem.net/ or call Blank at 406-243-5304.

Contact: Lisa Blank, UM curriculum and instruction professor, 406-243-5304, lisa.blank@umontana.edu.