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Pathogenic Bacteria are Like Annoying Houseguests

Pathogenic Bacteria are the subject of Millersville’s Women in Mathematics, Science & Technology Conference.

On April 4, the annual Women in Mathematics, Science and Technology Conference is returning to Millersville University. 129 middle and high school students from 35 different schools around the area will hear from various speakers about the opportunities for and the importance of women in these fields.

The conference will include a wide range of topics, including environmental health, meteorology, ecology, geophysics, applied mathematics, computer science, physics, biochemistry and more. Millersville University faculty and staff, along with other professionals, will share unique and varied presentations on these and other topics.

“Over the course of the day, students will meet and hear from accomplished female role models who are experts in their fields of science and technology,” says Dr. Nazli Hardy, associate professor of computer science and chair of the WST Conference.

“These women will share empowering stories of their careers and their lives; stories of triumphs and what seemed like failures, but what turned out to be turning points of success,” she continues. “We hope this conference will enrich and inspire the career trajectory of young women.”

The keynote speaker of the event is Dr. Rebecca Lamason ‘02, a Millersville alumna who is now an assistant professor in the department of biology at MIT. She will give a presentation about “Why Pathogenic Bacteria are Like Annoying Houseguests,” beginning at 9 a.m. This presentation is free and open to Millersville students, faculty and staff and will take place in the SMC Reighard Multipurpose Room. The rest of the conference is reserved for the invited middle and high school students.

Marianne Frantz, the administrative assistant in the office of the Dean of the College of Science and Technology, explains that the main purpose of this conference has always been to encourage young women in their pursuit of education and careers in the sciences.

“Since its inception, this conference has grown to meet the changing times and provide participants with a positive, well-rounded experience with interaction from women in various careers under the STEM umbrella,” she adds.

Students will have the ability to choose which presentations they would like to attend over the course of five sessions. In addition to these presentations, many presenters will also share career advice with their areas of expertise – how to pursue a certain career, how to narrow down career options, the various opportunities within certain careers and more.

In the final session, there will be two demonstrations using the facilities on the University’s campus. Science demonstrations include a showcase of MU’s scanning electron microscope, a discussion of MU women studying biology and a weather balloon launch. Technology demonstrations will cover occupational safety, 3D printing, construction management and industrial robotics.

During this time, there will also be a panel of Millersville University students, who can offer a discussion of their experiences in college studying the sciences.

“This is a popular and well-attended event, and the enthusiasm from schools who have participated has not waned,” concludes Frantz. “We look forward to providing this worthwhile experience for young women for years to come.”

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