Stamford STEMfems (pg2)

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The day began with a welcome from 4th District Congressman Jim Himes who reminded students of how important STEM is to the future of the U.S. and world economies and focused a good deal of his message on the gender gap in STEM fields. He was followed by 2014 Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee Jennifer Lawton, Chief Operating Officer at littleBits, who gave a brief keynote address highlighting various stages of her own career and encouraging all students to see themselves as inventors, no matter what career they may choose to pursue. Her remarks captivated students who shared afterward how inspiring it was to hear about all the jobs Lawton has held and the ways she has changed multiple technology industries. In the words of one young lady to Lawton after the session, “Mrs. Lawton, you are one heck of an amazing presenter!”

After the opening session, students split into their workshop groups of 15-20. Though the event itself was co-ed, with approximately equal numbers of boys and girls participating, the smaller groups were single-gender to allow for differentiation of instruction. Each student attended two 90-minute hands-on STEM workshops and one 90-minute CWHF-led workshop. Prior to the event, students were asked to indicate their first, second, and third choices for STEM workshop sessions, and every attempt was made to place students in their preferred workshop sessions. The STEM workshops were facilitated by female STEM professionals from a variety of corporate partners representing multiple industries. Each workshop included a brief introduction to the presenter, her career path, and obstacles she has faced during her career as well as a hands-on activity/project related to her field.


STEM Workshops included:

A Day in the Life of a Chemist: Discovering New Medicines
Dr. Michelle Garnsey, Senior Scientist & Dr. Danica Rankic, Principal Scientist, Pfizer
Find out what it takes to become a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. Learn about working with chemicals, testing scientific hypotheses and how this leads to discovering exciting new medicines. Test your skills with a hands-on chemistry experiment!

Chain Reaction Contraption!
Liza Stark, Community & Content Lead, littleBits (with three team members)
With a little inspiration from Rube Goldberg, we’ll invent a chain reaction contraption using littleBits! These electronic building blocks will easily let us communicate wirelessly, turn on lights, react to sound, make noise, and more as we design a complex machine to perform a simple task.

Crazy for Rockets & Space
Meryl Mallery, Vice President of Engineering, Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company (with 3 team members; two concurrent sessions)
Come join three fun-loving aerospace engineers! We work for an explosives manufacturer that designs and manufactures explosive components for rocket stage separation and termination! It does not get much more fun than that! Participants in this workshop will learn about what it means to be an aerospace engineer, see examples of hardware and video for the new NASA launch vehicle and make bottle rockets that will be launched outdoors!

EmPOWERed Kids
Michelle Butler, System Resiliency Project Manager, Eversource
Come learn about what happens before the lights turn on! Together we will have fun build the strongest electrical grid system and keep the power on for everyone!

Prescription Medicines: Concept to Medicine Cabinet
Donna Preston, Clinical Trial Contract Manager & Teffany Davenport, Associate Director, Boehringer Ingleheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Did you ever wonder how a medicine makes it to your medicine cabinet? The pharmaceutical industry provides a variety of opportunities for those with a science background to improve people’s lives through discovering, creating and testing new drugs. In this workshop you’ll learn how a new drug is discovered, tested and approved…and you’ll have an opportunity to design your own clinical trial!

Surgeon for a Day
Madison Tobar, Development Engineer, Medtronic (with 3 team members)
Ever wonder what it would be like to be a surgeon? Here is your chance to try it out! You'll also learn about different medical devices, how they're developed, and their role in surgery.

What does a mathematician do, anyway?
Dr. Maria Diamantis, Professor of Mathematics Education, Southern Connecticut State University
Ever wonder what a career as a mathematician would be like? Find out in this workshop filled with math games, puzzles, and fun! You’ll experience hands-on, minds-on activities as you examine different mathematical concepts like geometry, measurement, and probability.

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