Math Options celebrates lucky number 13

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, hosted its 13th annual Math Options Career Day on May 12 for 248 seventh- and eighth-grade girls from 41 schools in Erie, Crawford, Potter and Warren counties. An outreach program hosted by Continuing Education at Penn State Behrend, Math Options is designed to spark girls' interest in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

This year's attendees participated in the annual School Challenge Contest in which individual schools complete and submit the same design project. Groups then attended three of a possible 29 interactive workshops, such as "Constructing an LED Circuit," "CSI at PSU" and "Rockets," plus a lunchtime activity fair. Representatives from eight regional organizations presented the workshops, including Penn State Behrend, GE Transportation, LORD Corporation, WJET-TV and FOX 66, Knox Law Firm, Erie Zoological Society, Carnegie Mellon University, and Wegmans School of Pharmacy.

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Attendees were also given first-hand advice from three keynote speakers: Amelia Segal, meteorologist, WJET-TV and Fox 66, Jessica Schubert, psychology student, Penn State Behrend, and Anne Eisert, manager of Engineering Service Productivity, GE Transportation

Segal joined the WJET-TV and Fox 66 weather team in March 2008 as the weekend meteorologist. She forecasts and prepares a comprehensive weather report for a television viewing audience of 40,000 people. She notifies the public with current watches and warnings during severe weather as well. Segal earned a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Penn State University Park. Throughout her college career, she was an active member of the Penn State American Meteorological Society and the Campus Weather Service. Currently, Segal is a member of the American Meteorological Society, and is working toward a certified broadcast meteorological seal.

Schubert will graduate from Penn State Behrend on May 16 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and as a Schreyer Scholar, the University's highest academic achievement. During her time at Penn State Behrend, she served as a research assistant for Dr. Dawn Blasko, associate professor of psychology, and was a member of VIZ, a multi-disciplinary team that studies gender differences in spatial ability and develops games to improve these skills. Schubert presented her research results at a number of conferences, including professional conferences in Chicago and San Francisco. This fall, she will begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Eisert recently began her current position as manager of the Product Definition and Technical Publications departments at GE Transportation. Her team creates all the technical documents to design, build, maintain, repair and rebuild locomotives, marine engines, off-highway motors, gears for wind turbines, and other heavy transportation equipment. In this global job, Eisert manages several teams located in different countries. She is a 20-year employee of GE Transportation and has held a variety of engineering jobs during that time. Eisert earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Penn State University Park and an M.B.A. from Penn State Behrend.

Penn State Behrend staff member honored with Vision and Passion Award

Beth Zielinski, a staff assistant for Continuing Education at Penn State Behrend, was honored with Math Options' 2009 Vision and Passion Award in recognition of her many contributions to the program.

Zielinski has served in her current position for more than a decade, and began her career at Penn State Behrend in the Computer Center in 1988. She has been involved with Math Options Career Day since joining Continuing Education -- 12 of the 13 years the Math Options program has been held. Zielinski coordinates Math Options' registration process, Activity Fair set-up, financial contributor requests and acknowledgments, financial matters, workshop materials, and other behind-the-scenes tasks.

Zielinski is a regular volunteer with the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. She walked in the 2006 Detroit event and volunteered as a crew member in the 2007 and 2008 Cleveland walks. Zielinski is also a member of the St. James School Board. She and her husband, Jim, have two children, Sadie and Adam, who attend St. James School in Erie.

Math Options began at Penn State Behrend in 1997. The program strives to increase awareness of careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields during a critical stage in a girl's academic development; provide opportunities for girls to explore career options through interaction with professional women in these fields; provide on-going support and encouragement throughout their educations; and provide teachers and counselors with information and resources to reinforce a girl’s interest and aptitude in these areas. The program also partners with other Penn State Behrend initiatives that offer STEM-enrichment activities for girls, such as College for Kids and Minority College Experience/Women in Science and Engineering (MCE/WISE).

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Last Updated November 18, 2010