Area high school girls explore career paths

By BOB COUPLAND, Reporter
Originally printed in Tribune Chronicle, March 12

CHAMPION — Area high school students had the opportunity to meet and hear from women working in science, technology, engineering and math careers and to learn about the education and training they received to enter those fields.

On Friday, Kent State University at Trumbull hosted its STEM TC conference, inviting high school girls to spend the day at the campus and hear from professors, guest speakers and area professionals.

Dr. Valerie Cubon-Bell, STEM TC director and professor of chemistry, said the all-day conference invites girls in grades 10 to 12 from Trumbull County high schools who have an interest in STEM careers.

“We are excited that this has returned. We have over 23 professional women in STEM careers as well as medical field careers. Each speaker inspires the young women to pursue STEM degrees and to learn more about STEM,” Cubon-Bell said.

The event was last held in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic prevented the event in 2020 and 2021.

Cubon-Bell said the conference began more than 15 years ago to pique girls’ interest in pursuing careers in science, engineering and technology as well as the medical field.

“We want them to leave here today thinking about what having a STEM degree means and what opportunities are available with a STEM degree. The speakers today are sharing their own personal experiences of their STEM journeys,” Cubon-Bell said.

She said students can select four different speakers to listen to throughout the day in addition to the keynote speakers, — Dr. Pamela McCauley of North Carolina State University, an internationally recognized industrial engineering researcher; and Gina Govojdean, senior manager, metal strategy and operational excellence for Titanium Mill at Howmet Aerospace.

Professor Jill Tall spoke on the biology field while Professor Elizabeth Mann spoke about physics careers, with each having hands-on learning activities for the students.

High school students each had their own views of what the day’s events meant for them.

Dari Drake, a sophomore from Newton Falls, said she really liked hearing about engineering careers.

She said the day gave her ideas for possible college programs.

“When she spoke about being in engineering, I could see myself doing that as a career,” Drake said.

Lauryn Bervish, a sophomore from Newton Falls, said she liked being given information on what education and training are needed for different career fields.

Newton Falls sophomore Emilia Colosimo said, “I like hearing the different speakers tell of their careers and what they do in their lives. It felt very empowering. I really liked the criminal intelligence program and the medical careers.”

Elizabeth Smallsreed of Southington said she learned of the different opportunities in science and technology-related careers.

“I think it was neat that they held this day for us. It gave me more of an understanding of what career I may want to go into. Sophomores and juniors are still thinking of what they want to do with their futures,” said Rachel Krukowski of Southington.

Sidney Orlandi, a sophomore at Newton Falls, said she felt the speakers were very inspirational and showed her ways to become “an independent and successful woman.”

Part of the day included seeing the campus and meeting “Flash,” the eagle mascot of the college.

POSTED: Monday, March 28, 2022 - 1:12pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 11, 2022 - 3:50pm