READING, Pa. — Penn State Berks celebrated the 22nd anniversary of its Careers with Math Options Conference on May 9. A record total of 335 female seventh-grade students and 35 chaperones from 19 schools around Berks County area attended the day-long event. The mission of the event is to generate excitement for STEM topics early in young female students’ education.
The day began with a welcome by the original conference organizer, Janet Winter, retired professor of mathematics, followed by a keynote speech by Shannon Nowotarski, assistant professor of biochemistry, who spoke about her own career and the need to explore courses in STEM along with the study in other disciplines. The female student panel from various disciplines from Berks talked about their majors and answered questions from the audience.
The students were then divided into small groups, and each had an opportunity to attend three different workshops over the course of the day with a lunch break in Tully’s. In total, the college offered workshops by 47 presenters including faculty, staff, information technology professionals, career services, financial aid counselors, academic advisers, and STEM students. The topics ranging from engineering, to biology and chemistry, to psychology, to career planning.
The day concluded with the students taking a tour of the campus, visiting the bookstore and taking selfies by the Nittany Lion statue. The girls responded to the day with positive reviews including, “It was awesome. I didn’t want to leave,” and “Great program."