FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
stem girls, 1/9/13

Solano Community College emergency medical technician instructor Sue Clement, left, gives CPR lessons to Benicia Middle School 8th grader Raegan Bacani, 14, during the Expanding Your Horizons conference at SCC on Wednesday. The conference was designed to introduce girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

Education

Solano college expands horizons of 8th-grade girls

By From page A1 | January 14, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Deborah Mann and Berta Lloyd of Solano Community College envision a future where women are taking the math and science field by storm.

While educators are continually trying to push boys and girls science, technology, engineering and math — also referred to as STEM — there are few women in those professions.

Deborah Mann is the Director of Workforce and Economic Development, and Berta Lloyd is the Coordinator of  Community Collaborative and Workforce Innovation Partnership Grants for the college. Both strive to get middle and high school students excited about college. Lloyd often organizes field trips to the college and throughout the county to expose students to different career fields.

This year, Lloyd and Mann decided to bring professionals to the college to volunteer their time at the Expanding Your Horizons STEM Conference. All of the professionals at the conference are women and all work in the fields of science, math, technology or engineering.

Expanding Your Horizons is a national organization that encourages young women to pursue jobs in science or math. The group often hosts STEM workshops at colleges nationwide for girls in middle or high school.

Lloyd jumped at the chance to host this conference. She worked tirelessly to organize 14 workshops, each taught by a local female professional, and invited more than 200 eighth-grade girls from Solano County to attend last week’s conference titled “Girl Power 2013!”

Lloyd and Mann said eighth-graders are the perfect age to attend the event because it’s about the time students start making career choices. By the time they’re in high school, it’s often too late.

“It’s exciting to see these girls budding into womanhood,” Lloyd said.

Women from around the Bay Area came to talk about their careers and engage the students in hands-on workshops. The 200 girls could choose to participate in workshops covering biotechnology, smartphone drafting/design, clean water and sanitation, sound engineering, aviation and forensic investigation. Students could also examine the anatomy of a pig’s heart or learn about beer brewing with an Anheuser-Busch representative.

The students genuinely seemed to enjoy the event, Mann said. She said not a single girl was using a cellphone during Wednesday’s workshops and all were engaged.

Although at the end of the day the girls still took out their cellphones and returned to regular school classes, Mann said many students told her it helped clarify their career path.

“Some never thought about any of these careers before,” Mann said. “Who knew that all these things existed?”

Mann and Lloyd hope to host the conference every year. To learn more about Expanding Your Horizons, visit www.expandingyourhorizons.org.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.
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  • The Other Mike SJanuary 14, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    Uhm, when will we be hearing about "Boy Power"? Girls now outnumber boys in college, so why are they getting the special treatment? Shouldn't it be the other way around, so that everything is fair, socially acceptable and all of the other pablum the libs spew? Or is it simply OK to pee on the heads of boys and tell them it's raining?

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  • girl powerJanuary 14, 2013 - 7:39 pm

    maybe when women start making as much as men, or when they stop feeling the social pressure to enter lower paying fields. girls score just as well as boys on math and science tests, but women are grossly outnumbered in high paying math/science occupations...

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