Program encourages girls to explore STEM careers

May 05, 2011

Bethany Snyder of Thomasville, Pa., was just 13-years-old when she attended Pathways to Your Future: Exploring STEM Careers, a program to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at Penn State York in 2003. No one is more surprised than she is that at age 20 and a science major at Penn State York, she will be helping to present one of the workshops when the 15th annual program takes place at 8:45 a.m. Friday, May 6, in the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center at the campus. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

“When I was in seventh grade myself I participated in this program; it is so nice to see it go full circle for me,” said Snyder.

Snyder was selected to attend the program back then as one of the attendees from Dover Middle School.

“I was naturally good at science and that’s why I was one of the girls selected to attend," she said. "I wasn’t always interested in science but the program was exciting and I remember feeling very special to be on a college campus for a day when I was in seventh grade.”

Snyder will be presenting at the workshop The Science of Color in Cosmetics, one of the most popular at the conference, along with Fulgentius Lugemwa, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State York; Dean Putt, a research scientist in chemistry; and his daughter Allison Putt, a chemistry student at Lebanon Valley College.

Snyder laughs when she remembers that this was a workshop she wanted to attend back in 2003, but it was full.

“I’m still a little bitter about that but this year I can live vicariously through the girls and I’ve had the opportunity to practice doing the workshop and making nail polish,” she said.

While a student at York, Snyder has served as a research assistant in chemistry to Lugemwa and shares her love of science every day.  Snyder’s interest in science took a few years to grow since those middle school days but she now loves her major and will be moving on to University Park in the fall to complete her degree.  

Cell-A-Bration, Video Haiku, Dazzling Database, Making “Scents” of Biology, Getting Physical with Math and Science, DNA Detectives, The Science of Color in Cosmetics, Girls Go Graphic, and Makin’ Tracks are just a few of the workshops being offered this year.

Seventh grade girls, their teachers, and some parents representing 26 schools -- public, private, charter, and cyber -- will take part in this career awareness program.   Some 308 people will be participating in the free program.

Pathways to Your Future offers girls the opportunity to explore a variety of job related fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Participants can attend three workshops from a list of 24 covering a wide range of topics.  The program also provides teachers with information to guide young women toward career opportunities in these fields.
Pathways to Your Future:  Exploring STEM Careers is sponsored by Penn State York, the Alice J. Whiteley family, Exelon Nuclear, Haas Printing Co. Inc., Yorktowne Graphics, and a Pullo Family Grant.


  • The Science of Color in Cosmetics is one of the most popular workshops in the Pathways to Your Future: Exploring STEM Careers program at Penn State York.

    IMAGE: Barbara Dennis

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 05, 2011