Girls learn of science careers

YSU?hosts Women in STEM career day

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Amber Kovalik, 12, sixth-grader at John F. Kennedy Upper Campus in Warren, takes part in an experiment with Sarah Eisnaugle, biology instructor at Youngstown State University, during Women in STEM Career Day.

YOUNGSTOWN — Whether a career in engineering, life science or physics, area women shared their career paths to the science fields with local female students during the 21st annual Women in STEM Career Day held at Youngstown State University.

Dr. Diana Fagan, YSU professor and BaccMed faculty advisor, said the weekend event had girls in grades 6-12 hearing from women in different science careers. They also took part in hands-on activities with YSU faculty.

Fagan said Dr. Jill Bargonetti, a cancer researcher and professor of biology at Hunter College in New York, spoke on how genes are choreographed just like a dance.

“She explained this by dancing for the girls,” Fagan said.

Bargonetti, who received the Presidential Award of Excellence in Science, told their girls how she reached the position she holds today and her educational background and training.

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Carly Delliquadri, 11, left, and Lisa Casey, 12, both sixth-graders at John F. Kennedy Upper Campus in Warren, take part in a DNA activity with Youngstown State University biology instructor Sarah Eisnaugle during Women in STEM Career Day.

“This day showcased how women are engineers and scientists and what they do on a day-to-day basis,” Fagan said.

Fagan said while more men work in STEM fields, efforts are being made to attract more females since these will be jobs available in the future and half the population will miss out on such career opportunities.

“More often women tend to drop out of the programs as they advance. There are some science areas with less than 10 percent of the population being women in computer science, physics, and chemical engineering,” Fagan said.

Charlotte Chang, organization design coach, said each person entering college takes a different journey to the career they would like.

“It is not always clear-cut what you are going to do, but it is important to approach what you would like to do and see different opportunities,” Chang said noting many career paths take different directions.

Vivien Yee, professor of biology at Case Western Reserve, said with anything it is trial and error.

Val Locker, environmental scientist Davey Resource Center, said she asks the girls what they are interested in and how they might reach that goal.

“Internships are so important to help plan a career,” Locker said.

Dr. Martin Abraham, provost at YSU, said his daughter went into STEM graduating with environmental science degree and works in wildlife field.

“The STEM areas have a history of being challenging. Though there are men in STEM, we are working hard to get more women engaged and involved with STEM,” he said.

Abraham told the girls they may be told by someone a field is not for you, but they should keep going and make an effort to pursue the career they want.

Lisa Casey, 12, sixth-grader at JFK Upper Campus, said she liked attending the hands-on lab activities at YSU and hearing from the panel members.

“The one woman works with wildlife and animals and told what she does each day dealing with water and the outdoors,” said Casey, who likes the life sciences field.

Carly Delliquadri, 11, sixth-grade at JFK Upper Campus, said she wants to explore the science career fields. She also said the speakers helped her.

“They told us what they do at their jobs. It was interesting. I liked the woman who works with wildlife,” she said.