CLEARFIELD—One group made lotions, another designed roller coasters. Some experimented with rockets, some with chemistry.
Four hundred girls between sixth and ninth grades spent a big chunk of a recent Saturday learning more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at the 16th annual “Expanding Your Horizons” conference sponsored by Orbital ATK.
The conference was held this year at North Davis Junior High in Clearfield and drew students from 60 schools throughout northern Utah.
“We want them to get excited about careers in STEM fields,” said Hillary Searle, communications lead at Orbital ATK. “We’re introducing the girls to careers they might not know are out there, where men are still in the majority.”
Workshops offered around the school helped students get an idea of what it takes to be everything from a rocket scientist to a doctor, a computer programmer to an engineer.
“It’s fun to do hands-on stuff,” said Emily, as she manipulated her bag full of gooey slime, one of five concoctions of varying consistencies she would create in an afternoon workshop. “If you do it by yourself, you can figure out why it’s useful.”
“I like trying new ideas and seeing how things work,” said Megan.
“Our roller coaster failed,” said Emily, “but it was fun to see how gravity works.”
Students were encouraged to pursue their dreams and explore their possibilities by keynote speaker Vicky Thomas, head of Product Strategy at Lucid Software.
“You don’t know if you don’t try,” said Thomas, according to a release. “Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do something – if you put your mind to it you can do anything.”
Workshops were taught by women in the math, science and technical professions, according to information provided, “giving the students a sense of what a career in these fields would be like and providing role models for them.”