Huge turnout on campus for Women in STEM panel discussions

More than 300 high school students turned out at Penn State New Kensington on Nov 4 for a series of panel discussions on career possibilities for women in STEM-related fields.

Women in STEM Careers was an opportunity for female students, educators and community members to hear from successful women who are making a significant impact on the local economy, as well as the global economy. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the four core disciplines which are the foundation of the area's workforce and are critical to the development of region's technological innovations today and in the future. The initiatives are designed to increase the number of students, especially females, minorities and the underrepresented, in the STEM fields.

High school and middle school students from nine area school districts -- Allegheny Valley, Burrell, Knoch, New Kensington-Arnold, Kiski Area, Apollo-Ridge, Lenape, Deer Lakes and Highlands -- learned first-hand about the challenges and rewards from women who have careers in the STEM fields.

Panelists included: Sara Sibenaller, software engineer for Philips Respironics, Inc; Amy Peters, senior bioassay scientist for Thermo Fisher Scientific; and Renee Leroy, research engineer for Penn State Electro-Optics Center and a Penn State New Kensington graduate.

The trio extolled the different perspectives that women can bring to these traditionally male-dominated fields. They advised the audience to take advantage of internships at local companies to gain experience in their prospective vocations. The panelists fielded numerous questions from the students.

STEM is a statewide effort dedicated to preparing Pennsylvania students for global competitiveness through a strategy of enhanced education and career development opportunities. At Penn State New Kensington, Maureen Ryan heads the STEM efforts on campus. The coordinator's mission is three-fold: coalesce interdisciplinary teams of grade school teachers and administrators, higher education students and faculty, and industry representatives to determine the best approach to STEM literacy in the region; identify funding opportunities to support the programs; and implement the programs to improve the STEM skills of grade-school students, as well as those of the community workforce. .

For more information on STEM activities at the campus, contact Ryan at 412-352-3170 or via e-mail.


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Last Updated November 09, 2010