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Conference to Introduce Middle School Girls to STEM Fields

Participants in last year’s Girls in STEM conference show their skills during a “Math-Based Card Tricks” workshop. (Photos by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 1, 2017) — More than 175 area girls in fourth through eighth grade are registered for this year’s Girls in STEM conference, being held on campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 4.
The free event, now in its second year, was spearheaded by Stephanie Conklin and Kelly Ryan, two New York State Master Teachers based at UAlbany. The conference is hosted by the Master Teacher Program in conjunction with the UAlbany’s division of Information Technology Services (ITS).
Conklin heads the Capital Region cohort of the NYS Master Teacher program’s professional learning team, which focuses on girls in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. The group, hosted through the School of Education, decided last year to hold a mini-conference for girls in grades 4-8, and 80 girls participated in a variety of workshops, from Math Card Tricks to High-Tech Fashion.

The STEM conference is designed to get girls interested in math, science and engineering, areas in which women are under-represented. 

The event was well received by both the girls and their parents, and this year’s event is full, with many more hopeful attendees on a waiting list. Saturday’s conference will begin in the Campus Center Ballroom and then move to classrooms in the School of Education and Humanities building.
Participants can choose two workshops from a wide variety of topics, including computer programming, geometric shape building, or learning about bees.
“The focus of our event is on engineering, design and coding as these are the areas in STEM where girls tend to be least represented at the college level,” Conklin said. “For example, we have high-tech fashion as well as math art coding.”
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