Women in STEM Events at Kent State Geauga Serve as Appetizers for Knowledge-Hungry Students

Nearly 150 area high school students with an insatiable hunger for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics enjoyed a banquet of ‘small bites’ during two Women in STEM Day events hosted by the Kent State University Geauga and the Twinsburg Academic Center this fall.

The first Women in STEM Day attracted 108 high schoolers to the Kent State Geauga Campus in Burton on October 18. Students from Berkshire (41), iSTEM Geauga (44), and James A. Garfield (23) all mingled to listen to a keynote speaker and to participate in two of four randomly-assigned workshops in math, chemistry, and biology. Then on November 8, 40 high schoolers from Nordonia (24) and Twinsburg (16) enjoyed a similar immersive, hands-on exploration of STEM fields of study at the Twinsburg Academic Center. 

College-bound students also learned about College Credit Plus (CCP), a state-funded program that permits teens to earn college credits while still being enrolled at their local high school. Dr. Angela Spalsbury, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer at Kent State Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center, commented, “Several students wanted to follow up with us specifically about this program or their possible futures at the Kent State Geauga and Twinsburg locations.”

Throughout each day, workshops were facilitated by Kent State Geauga women in STEM, including Dr. Susanne Clement, Geology; Dr. Robin Selinger, Physics; Dr. Angela Spalsbury and Dr. Darci Kracht, Mathematics; Dr. Zhiqiang Molly Wang, Chemistry; and Dr. Daniela Popescu, Dr. Sanhita Gupta, Dr. Josephine Naji, and Dr. Erin Bailey, Biology. 

Students were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about their taste of higher education with access to high-quality labs where they conducted guided experiments involving blood typing, sickle cell identification, DNA gel samples, and combustion, while others calculated probability problems and more. 

As one James A. Garfield student commented in an anonymous survey, “My favorite part of the day was using hands-on techniques to learn in new ways.” Another JAG student said they especially appreciated “being able to be interactive with the labs; it truly helps me learn.”

At the Twinsburg location, the keynote speaker was Kent State University Mathematics Professor Dr. Darci Kracht, who discussed paradoxes and the concept of infinity. At the Geauga Campus, the keynote speaker was Kent State Physics Professor Dr. Robin Selinger, who inspired students with the arc of her career path. “I enjoyed the speaker at the beginning,” one Berkshire student commented. “It was very motivational, and I will keep it in my thoughts as I move forward.” 

Dean Spalsbury was very pleased with students' responses to the Women in STEM events. “I believe each event and faculty session went great! In general, the students seemed to enjoy each session – which is what we were aiming for.” 
Student feedback was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. “I thought the overall experience was great,” commented one i-STEM survey respondent. “Continue to do this program! It is beneficial,” added a JAG student.
Further student feedback provided suggestions that may be integrated into future Women in STEM events. “We want this program to continue to grow, which will help visibility and knowledge about both of our campus locations to area high school students,” Dean Spalsbury said. 

“It will also encourage graduating females from our area to dive deeper into these subjects for possible future careers. We, of course, want all of these graduates to enroll at our campus, but we also want to help students who may have an interest in a particular STEM-related field to determine exactly which path to take to achieve their career goals.”
College-bound students can learn more about the degree programs offered by Kent State Geauga and the Twinsburg Academic Center online.

POSTED: Monday, December 9, 2019 - 9:03am
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 12:14pm
Estelle R. Brown