With a full day of hands-on activities, inspiring presenters and informative discussions, St. Margaret’s welcomed more than 175 attendees to campus for the 2019 Girls in STEAM Symposium on Saturday.
The event, now in its third year, was expanded to a full day and welcomed students grades 4-12 from across the region with an interest in STEAM fields, with participants coming from as far away as Brentwood and San Diego. The girls took part in fun workshops, listened to experts in a variety of professions, and connected with other girls who are interested in a future in STEAM.
The activities were plentiful and made for a day of inspiration and interaction (see the full program here
). Spotlight speaker Dr. Andrea Fidgett, director of nutritional services for San Diego Zoo Global, shared insight into her work formulating scientific-based diets and leading the fight against extinction through nutritional research. She also spoke of the future need for girls in STEAM fields and particularly in environmental fields like her own, sharing that “Mother Nature needs her daughters.”
Also presenting were four women from the University of California, Irvine, all graduate students who shared their “Grad Slam” research presentations in fields like chemistry, medicine and engineering.
“We hope these girls are more excited, inspired and informed about the possibilities that await them in STEAM,” said Jennifer Ross-Viola, St. Margaret’s STEAM fellow and organizer of the Girls in STEAM Symposium. “We want them to see that they are needed in these fields, that their voices are important, and that their passion for STEAM can make a difference in this world.”
Participants also took part in “Be a STEMinist” sessions consisting of exciting hands-on activities in various STEAM disciplines. Including building robots, solving an escape room, creating DNA art and experimenting in virtual reality or cyanotype photography among other workshops.
There were also breakout panel discussions, where participants and their families could learn more from professionals in various STEAM fields about opportunities, educational paths and general advice. There were female experts in the fields of engineering, health care, technology, research and entrepreneurship who spoke openly about their career paths. In all, more than 20 professionals shared their expertise, including three St. Margaret’s alumnae: aerospace engineer Taylore McClurg ’02, software engineer Paige Selby ’08 and civil engineer Patricia Kharzami ’10.
“We are so grateful for all the women who came to St. Margaret’s and shared their insight,” Dr. Ross-Viola said. “For our attendees to see women who have succeeded in technology, medicine, engineering and other valuable industries and share their educational and professional path makes a future in STEAM that much more realistic for them.”
The panelists were:
Hailey Cockrum, material planner II at SpaceX
Jasmine Jauregui, project engineer at Enterprise Automation
Patricia Kharazmi ’10, assistant civil engineer at the City of Newport Beach
Laura Moore-Shay, project manager at Enterprise Automation
Taylore McClurg ’02, aerospace engineer at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
Jan Johnson, pediatrician
Thuy T. Le, cardiac electrophysiologist
Blanca Lomeli, global integrated health & development director
Sasha Maher, otolaryngologist
Lara Marmelstein, emergency room nurse
Tania Robertson, emergency medicine physician
Andrea Fidgett, director of nutritional services at San Diego Zoo Global
Katie Lyons, scientist at SGI-DNA/Synthetic Genomics
Ellie Mahjubi, senior director of product management at Thermo Fisher Scientific
Kimberly Won, assistant professor, Chapman University School of Pharmacy
Nannette Y. Yount, visiting scientist at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Samantha Anton, COO at North America Scholastic Esports Federation
Skye Chandler, game designer at Blizzard Entertainment
Cayci Robold, software consultant
Paige Selby ’08, software engineer at Google
Constance Steinkuehler, professor of informatics at University of California, Irvine
Gina Heitkamp, CEO at Gengirl Media, Inc.
Carolyn Stephens, associate director and chief of staff at UCI Applied Innovation
Judy Yorke, president of Yorke Engineering, LLC