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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Young Women's Conference in STEM seeks to change the statistics one girl at a time | Princeton University

Some 750 seventh- to 10th-grade girls spent the day learning about computer coding, plasma science, artificial intelligence and other subjects through numerous hands-on activities at PPPL’s Young Women’s Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) on March 22 at Princeton University, inform Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, Communications Specialist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Some 750 seventh- to 10th-grade girls attended the event, learning about computer coding, plasma science, artificial intelligence and more.
Photo: Elle Starkman, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The annual STEM conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), brings girls from all over New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania and Delaware, to take part in more than 40 activities, meet female scientists and engineers, and learn about cutting-edge science.

“I love it,” said Caroline Balick, an exhibitor from AI4All at Princeton University, a nonprofit organization seeking to increase diversity in the artificial intelligence field. “It makes me so happy seeing all these girls walking around interested in science.”

The idea is to spark girls’ interest in science and change that statistics that show women still lag far behind men in the STEM fields. While 58 percent of all bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, only 36 percent of bachelor’s degrees are in STEM. While 60 percent of social science occupations are occupied by women and 48 percent of life sciences, they represent only 26 percent of computer and mathematical science occupations and only 13 percent of engineers, according to the National Science Foundation...

More than 50 volunteers More than 50 volunteers from PPPL, Princeton University, and numerous science organizations made the event a success by serving in numerous roles, including exhibitors, group leaders and registration helpers. “This is the 18th year that PPPL has done a young women’s conference,” noted Andrew Zwicker, head of the PPPL’s Office of Communications and Public Outreach. “Every year is better than the year before. That doesn’t happen without the amazing work of our volunteers.”

In addition to hands-on activities, the students were treated to an eye-popping chemistry show by Kitty Wagner, of Princeton’s chemistry department. They also listened to a panel discussion by three early-career women scientists.

Source: Princeton University