Walters State will host East Tennessee’s first Expanding Your Horizons conference May 17 at the college’s Morristown campus. The event runs from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and is filled with hands-on activities to interest girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Expanding Your Horizons is a program for girls in sixth through ninth grade. This national organization seeks to build confidence and inspire participants to consider careers in STEM-related fields. Conferences make students aware of possible future occupations that are enjoyable, pay well and contribute to society.
“This program brings together students and scientists,” said Dr. Lisa Eccles, associate professor of biology at Walters State. Eccles is putting the conference together with the assistance of MTSU’s Women in Stem Center, Girls Raised in Tennessee Science and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Additional members of Walters State’s Natural Sciences faculty, Phi Theta Kappa honor society students and members of the college’s Science Club are also assisting.
Parents can register a child online here
. The $5 fee includes all the materials, lunch and a free T-shirt. The American Association of University Women and Clayton Homes have provided additional funding for the event.
Girls will meet four scientists and do some hands-on projects with each. Scientists will include women working for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Texas Instruments and Rubbermaid.
“Having the chance to meet women in STEM fields is a great opportunity. Each will talk about their careers and then lead hands-on activities in their area. Girls will be divided into smaller groups to rotate through the sessions,” Eccles said.
“In addition to learning more about careers in STEM fields, we hope the day also makes students comfortable on the Walters State campus. Students will have a chance to meet professors and students,” Eccles said.
Why target girls?
“Data shows that these careers are very heavily dominated by males. We want to show girls that it’s okay to like these fields and do well in them. We want girls to know about the careers that are available in STEM,” Eccles said.
Walters State joins Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis as Tennessee Expanding Your Horizons sites.
For more information, contact Eccles at (423) 318-2768 or Lisa.Eccles@ws.edu.