Friday, November 21, 2014

Young Women Explore STEM Careers at Edison’s We Are IT! Event

Students put on goggles, mixed chemicals and watched as they changed colors in a session titled, “Light, Color, Chemistry” at Edison’s annual We Are IT! event for young women.

Upper Valley Career Center students take advantage
of the selfie station at Edison’s annual We Are IT! event.
More than 200 students ranging from sixth to eleventh grade engaged in a day of learning and fun at Edison Community College on Friday, November 14, for the ninth annual “We Are IT!” event. The daylong program is designed to help boost interest of young women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“This year was the best year yet and next year we’ll celebrate our 10 year anniversary,” said Patti Ross, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The girls loved the selfie station and took so many fun pictures throughout the day. Next year, we’re planning to invite all of our alumni back for our anniversary – over 2,000 girls have been ‘We Are IT! girls.”

The event began with a keynote address from Jen Fritz, a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and an instructor in the School of Information Technology at the University of Cincinnati. Fritz spoke to the ladies about how although her career in the Marine Corps prepared her for many aspects of life; she still needed formal training to pursue a career in information technology. She touched on the fact that life doesn’t always go as planned and encouraged the group to be persistent in reaching for their dreams.

Each of the girls chose three breakout sessions from a total of seventeen different sessions offered. Topics of breakout sessions ranged from diagnostic laboratory medicine and physics to digital photo editing and robotics. During lunch, students had the opportunity to network with area STEM professionals.

In addition to giving students a look at what they could do for a living somewhere down the road, many of the day’s sessions focused on topics that are relevant in their daily lives. A session titled, “What You See Isn’t Always What You Get” showed participants the ins and outs of image altering and how marketers use these techniques to sell products.

To wrap up the day, students were encouraged to participate in an essay contest. The theme of the essay asked students to describe how they best embodied the characteristics of the event’s mascot, “Mitse” (Math, Information Technology, Science, Engineering). A total of 96 students entered the essay contest with the first place winner receiving an iPad.

To further reinforce the use of technology, a new selfie station was made available to participants. Students had the opportunity to use their smartphones to take pictures and share with fellow participants using #WeAreIT14. At the end of the day, a selfie was selected at random to receive an iPod.

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