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Women in STEM Conference “An Inspiration”

Annual ‘Ville conference encourages girls to consider education and careers in STEM.

Organizations like the National Science Foundation are working hard to support women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM. They have programs to “address the differences in engagement, retention, advancement, success and inclusion in STEM experiences and workplaces of people who identify as women.” To encourage and inspire high school junior and senior girls to consider education and careers in STEM, Millersville University hosted the annual Glenna Hazeltine Women in Mathematics, Science & Technology Conference during the spring semester.

Students had the opportunity to meet with a variety of professional women in the field. The conference included sessions with STEM experts. Christine Ferreira, a chief meteorologist at WGAL and a Millersville alumna, spoke about her adventures as a broadcast meteorologist, and Dr. Gail Gasparich, Millersville University provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, gave a talk titled “From Mice to Microbes: One Woman Scientist’s Tale.”

Dr. Erin R. Moss, a professor of mathematics at MU, spoke on “What do you do when you’re interested in everything?” Holly Walter Kerby, faculty emeritus from Madison College and founder of Storyform Science, delivered the keynote address.

Dr. Nazli Hardy, an associate professor of computer science, has chaired the committee and overseen the event for over a decade. Hardy talked about the importance of the event, saying, “I don’t remember too many examples of women in STEM careers when I was growing up. In the face of inevitable obstacles, I would doubt whether this was the right path for me, and I had to look back within myself to inspire myself. But this conference gives young girls the opportunity to meet experienced role models who share stories of such trials, tribulations, and triumphs on their road to success. So, the girls have an encouraging perspective, going into the field.”

Hardy continues by speaking about her own experience working in STEM, “Working with and then taking leadership roles in women in STEM has been one of the most fulfilling and meaningful roles in my career, but the mindset of creating and taking on leadership roles as opposed to waiting for them to be offered to me has been game changing.”

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