Women in Science Conference to host high schoolers Feb. 13-14

Women in Science Conference to host high schoolers Feb. 13-14

UNL’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education will help more than 80 high school girls explore science careers when it hosts the 17th annual Women in Science Conference Feb. 13-14 in Lincoln.

The event will offer high school sophomores through seniors the opportunity to meet female professionals and university students in fields ranging from biology, engineering and agronomy to computer science, food science and medicine.

“It’s important for women to have role models they respect and can relate to,” said Wendy Smith, assistant director of the center. “Many Nebraska students, particularly in rural areas, have limited opportunities to interact with a wide range of scientists. The Women in Science Conference helps to fill that gap.”

Participants will also visit the Nebraska Union for a day of interactive activities that include a one-hour introduction to coding and a Harry Potter-inspired chemistry session led by Rebecca Lai, a Susan Rosowski Associate Professor at UNL.

Tracy Bohaboj, a certification project coordinator with Duncan Aviation, will give the conference’s keynote address. A panel of approximately 10 women from UNL and private industry will also answer questions and foster discussion among participants.

“We know that the pipeline of students who choose science-focused careers is still very male-dominated, and females increasingly turn away from science-related interests as teenagers,” Smith said. “It is especially important to communicate with high school women about the wide array of science-focused careers, along with the paths – high school courses, college majors, internships – to reach those careers.”

The rise of jobs requiring backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math, Smith said, means that Nebraska has a vested interest in fostering more professionals capable of filling them.

“To maintain the competitiveness of Nebraska’s economy, we need our students to have high levels of STEM literacy and enter the workforce prepared to make strong contributions to our future,” Smith said.

The conference is sponsored by the Nebraska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Registration has closed due to space constraints.

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