Columbia State Announces STEM GiRLS Event

Registration Now Open

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Aug. 27, 2013) - - -  In an effort to promote and encourage the success of girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, Columbia State Community College is hosting its first Girls Really Love Science event for 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls.

Registration is now open for the Oct. 26 event that is centered on educating young girls about the various opportunities available to them in STEM fields as they begin to think about their futures. The event will kickoff at 8:30 a.m. in the Cherry Theater on the Columbia campus.

The one-day event will feature workshops designed to engage participants in educational and interactive hands-on activities that will involve agricultural science, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, math, physics, psychology and other applied sciences.

“It is part of our role as a community college to provide an atmosphere of learning and engagement for these young students so that their lives may be positively influenced,” said Glenn Hudson, Ph.D., event director and associate professor of mathematics. “The event will also help young girls see the potential gender barriers, biases and misconceptions that might exist in STEM fields as well as provide thoughts on how to overcome those factors.”

According to the Economics and Statistics Administration, less than 25 percent of STEM jobs are held by women, yet salaries of women in STEM careers are 33 percent higher than the salaries of women in non-STEM careers. Change the Equation reported only 8.9 percent of Tennessee college degrees and certificates are awarded in STEM fields.

“The support structures are currently present for young girls, but they may not know of the existence of such support,” Hudson said. “We plan on doing our part in the community to seek to improve those numbers for the good of citizens, the state, and ultimately, the country.”

The keynote speaker will be Jillian Bellovary, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at Vanderbilt University. She studies black holes and cosmological simulations, focusing on how supermassive black holes form and evolve in the universe. In her spare time, she mentors underrepresented minority students and plays roller derby for the Nashville Rollergirls.

“Jillian is an ideal guest speaker for our event,” said Penny Kellman, event assistant and secretary for the STEM and humanities and social sciences divisions. “She’s young and full of energy, so the girls will relate to her. Our goal is to show them that science can be fun, and Jillian will definitely demonstrate that point.”

Parents and teachers are invited to stay for the complementary adult session, which will provide insight on how to encourage and guide young women in STEM classes and careers, demonstrating how daughters and students can have rewarding and high-paying careers in a variety of STEM fields.

Those interested are encouraged to register early as spaces are limited. The registration fee is $20 and includes lunch and a T-shirt. For more information and to register, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/STEM-GiRLS.

Registration is open until filled and is for female middle school students in Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Perry, Wayne and Williamson Counties.

STEM GiRLS is sponsored by General Motors in Spring Hill, Lucas Chevrolet and Parks Columbia.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.

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