STEM GiRLS Event Inspires More Than 200

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Oct. 27, 2016) - - - On Saturday, Oct. 22, Columbia State Community College held its third science, technology, engineering and mathematics “Girls Really Love Science” event, which promoted the success of girls in STEM careers by involving approximately 230 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls  in multiple hands-on activities.

The event focused on various career opportunities available to women in STEM fields and attendees got a closer look into various professions as they begin to think about their futures.

“I came to STEM GiRLS because I want to be a scientist or an engineer one day,” said Kailtyn Grieco, Franklin resident and 7th grade student from Woodland Middle School. “I really like experiments and hands-on things so I thought it would be a great opportunity.”

The one-day event featured workshops that engaged participants in different types of educational, interactive hands-on activities that involved agricultural science, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, math, physics and other applied sciences.

Activities included building a self-sustaining ecosystem, cow eyeball dissection, magnetic levitation, a make-your-own makeup session, flight simulation a game programming class and a variety of other STEM-based workshops.

Janet Ivey, creator of Janet’s Planet and Children’s Television ambassador and spokesperson, was this year’s keynote speaker. Recently, Ivey has worked on the educational outreach for NASA’s New Horizon’s mission and was named the spokesperson for Enterprise in Space. Ivey presented the stories of several powerful women in STEM careers throughout history. She encouraged the participants to be the best person that they could be and remain curious in the STEM subjects.

“Smart is the most beautiful thing you can be,” Ivey said. “Keep on asking questions and keep exploring.”

Ivey offered herself to mentor and aide every girl in attendance. She expressed how important it is to share ideas and find the right people to help you execute them.

Dr. Glenn Hudson, associate professor of mathematics and one of the event coordinators, noted that girls need encouragement to enter the STEM fields. Hudson explained that women make up approximately 51 percent of the population, but only about 20 percent of STEM occupations are held by women. He continued to say that although women have made strides in the STEM fields, when you take out the number of women that are in health sciences, such as nursing, the number drops even lower.

A complementary adult session was also provided to show insight on how to encourage and guide young women that take interest in STEM classes and careers.

“There are so many negatives associated with women not being in more STEM fields,” Hudson said. “We are losing capability and brain power that our communities and nation need. Sometimes it is as simple as the girls not believing they can do these jobs, and therefore they are not encouraged enough to enter the field.”

Hudson explained that the primary goal for this event was to show girls that there are opportunities out there and that there is never a reason for them to give up on their dreams.

On behalf of the entire planning team, Hudson expressed appreciation to the dedicated faculty, staff, community and student volunteers, and generous sponsors that offered their time and effort to make this worthwhile event happen.

Co-directors for the event were Andrew Wright, assistant professor of mathematics; Penelope Kellman, secretary for the humanities and social sciences and STM divisions; Dr. Emily Siciensky, associate vice president of information technology; and Dr. Abreotta Williams, assistant professor of biology.

STEM GiRLS was sponsored by the General Motors family, including Spring Hill GM Manufacturing, Lucas Chevrolet and Parks Motor Sales, along with Listerhill Credit Union, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Mount Pleasant Water Systems and Grace Talent, Technology and Trust.

Girls in attendance included students from various schools in Maury, Williamson, Marshall, Lawrence, Giles, Wayne, Lewis, Perry and Hickman Counties.

For a look at the photos from this year’s STEM GiRLS, visit www.flickr.com/photos/columbiastatecc/

STEM GiRLS Group Photo
Photo Caption:
STEM GiRLS group photo at lunch.

Janet Ivey at STEM Event
Photo Caption:
Keynote speaker, Janet Ivey, spoke about the importance and need of girls in the STEM field. 

STEM Cow eyeball

Photo Caption:  STEM attendees dissect cow eyeball.

STEM girls build ecosystem
Photo Caption:
STEM GiRLS attendees build a self-sustaining ecosystem.


STEM attendees at microscope
Photo Caption:
Two STEM GiRLS attendees examine cheek cells through a microscope.

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, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit www.ColumbiaState.edu.

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at tncommunitycolleges.org.

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