October 12 - Third Annual Women in Science Conference Review

Women in Science LogoOn October 6, over 300 teachers and students gathered at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming for a day of science and technology. As documented in 1998, 51-52% of High School graduates are women, and 56% of college graduates are women. However, in the fields of natural sciences, women represented only 37% of graduates receiving degrees. While these numbers have shown improvement over the past few years, women are still under-represented in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. The Women in Science Conference in Riverton was started in 2004 as a way to remedy this national problem, by increasing the interest of local 7th-12th grade young ladies in the fields of science in technology. This conference introduces these young women to local professional female scientists, who then strive to provide an interactive presentation of their career.The main goal of our conference is to show these young women that they have every opportunity available to them as they begin the next stages of their lives. This is especially an important reason the Women in Science Committee in Riverton, WY chooses to primarily invite local area scientists, or women who have gone through the Wyoming school system before moving into their careers. Each young woman in attendance had the capabilities to meet with two scientific professionals concerning two careers that interest them. This is done by holding two breakout sessions during the day.
Collage of Breakout Speaker Presentations on October 6, 2006

Twenty-two professional women gave presentations this year, which included the fields of medicine, geology, geography, hydrology, and veterinary medicine, among others. In the morning, the keynote speaker, Sonnicant Gilbert (a native of Lander, WY), provided a speech on Equine Medicine and the use of acupuncture on horses. Students were then provided with the opportunity to visit booths of local and regional companies which provided another means of introducing career opportunities to these young women. Booths included representatives from NOAA’s National Weather Service, the FBI, NASA, USGS, and various medical agencies. Students were also able to pick up information from regional colleges and information on Wyoming’s Hathaway Fund, which provides scholarships to Wyoming residents. While their students were attending their break-out sessions, teachers had the opportunity to attend teacher sessions during the day, while other teachers were observers at the student sessions.

After the break-out sessions were completed for the day, students were rewarded for their time with door prizes before heading back to their schools. Approximately 20 schools from across Central and Western Wyoming attended the event this year, with schools located in the further reaches of the state providing their own means to arrive the night before the event and staying in local hotels.

Sampling of Booths During the 2006 Women in Science Event in Riverton, WYKeynote Speaker - Dr. Sonnicant Gilbert

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