CT Girls To Attend First Girls & STEM Expo at MCC

Manchester- On Friday, April 30th, 100 seventh grade girls from middle schools in East Hartford, Ellington, Manchester, Mansfield, South Windsor, and Wethersfield will participate in hands-on, science-related workshops at the Girls & STEM Expo at
Manchester Community College. The upcoming Expo is the first collaboration between
CWEALF and MCC.



Girls & STEM Expos are a series of one-day workshops designed to promote middle
school girls’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
education and careers. Since 2003, the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund
(CWEALF) has coordinated Girls & STEM workshops each year in at least four colleges
in Connecticut. Each location is chosen to attract a demographically diverse group of
students and educators, including teachers and guidance counselors.



Each one-day Expo consists of workshops and team-building exercises led by women
engaged in STEM careers. CWEALF makes every effort to include women of diverse
ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and careers as presenters. The workshops are interactive
and present concrete applications of scientific methods and technology; introduce the
students to role models and potential mentors; and foster girls’ sense of participating in a
peer group of future workers in STEM careers.
Devora Epstein, School Counselor at Carmen Arace Middle School, has brought her
students to past Girls & STEM Expos. She says, “Our school experiences from the day
we enter pre-school or kindergarten shape our adult lives. But the special moments, a
field trip to the fire station, a handshake from the mayor, and enrichment opportunities
like the Girls & STEM Expos expose us to a world outside of school walls and spark
sometimes dormant aspirations. Our country can’t afford to waste the talents and skills
that women can contribute. Our future physicians, scientists, engineers, astronauts and
teachers are sitting in classrooms today and more than 50% of them are girls!”



This Expo is funded by a $2 million U.S. DOL grant awarded to Connecticut’s
Community Colleges, including Three Rivers, to expand their work in providing students
with the education and skills needed to enter and advance in careers in growing fields of
employment in Connecticut. Careers in industries such as precision manufacturing and
aerospace components manufacturing are in need of skilled employees to replace large
numbers of retiring workers and to keep Connecticut competitive. According to the
Employment and Training Administration of the USDOL, the creation of one
manufacturing position creates 1.88 additional jobs in Connecticut.



Encouraging the interest of students in science, math and technology while they are in
middle school can lead them to take high school courses that will support their success in
the college-level work needed to gain entry to 21st century careers. CWEALF is a
collaborator on the Community Colleges’ SMART and SOAR grants and is directing the
Expo initiative to assist schools in reaching a diverse population of women who need to
gain the education and skills needed to enter college and compete in the job market.
Scholarships, paid internships and a learner-centered, skill-building curriculum at the
Community Colleges will support student success, persistence, and advancement through
the levels of the program. Mentors will work closely with students and industry partners
involved in the initiative to provide on-the-job oversight and continuing education to
reinforce classroom lessons for students involved in the program.



The Manchester Expo will offer student workshops like: Geocaching: Treasure Hunting
with Technology, Creative CAD, What’s in a Wiki? and Break that Code!. The Expo will
also offer two workshop for teachers one titled Computer Science Unplugged! and the
other about web page design.



To date CWEALF has served 2,622 middle school girls and 333 teachers, guidance
counselors, and parents. CWEALF continues to implement the Expos and try to reach
more girls each year. CWEALF is currently planning 2010 Expos at Gateway
Community College, Mitchell College, Saint Joseph College, and Asnuntuck Community
College.
News Item Posted On: April 23, 2010
For Additional Information Contact: Lucy Brakoniecki, CWEALF at (860) 247-6090 x100