Central New York, Community, Education, Non-profit, Technology, Things to do

Organization Brings Teenage Girls Opportunities to Explore STEM

By Lisa Nho SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —¬†One special program in the city of Syracuse will be bringing the meaning of “community” to the people. The YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County, Inc. – alongside Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry – will be teaming up to provide an event that allows teenage girls in the city to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The YWCA’s ninth annual Girls Summit on April 29th, 2017 focuses on the STEM careers and exposes young girls to these fields that would otherwise be unfamiliar to them. Participants will learn the curriculum through hands-on workshops. Some include building wind turbines and applications for phones. YWCA executive director Fanny Villarreal said the organization creates events¬†like the Girls Summit to encourage young girls to be aware of all the opportunities available to them.

“The STEM careers shouldn’t just be limited to boys and men and that’s why us here at the YWCA keep telling these girls that they can be whoever they want to be,” Villarreal said. “They shouldn’t be ashamed to be different and to like different things.”

The Girls Summit was created to combat inequality issues not just in the community but also in the nation. The staff at the YWCA hopes that the girls who participate in the event can learn what they are passionate about and use it to create change.

“Change is good, you know? I think it’s time for girls and women to come together and start changing stereotypes,” Villarreal said.

Along with the hands-on workshops, the summit will also include a discussion panel that focuses on the transition from high school to college. High school and college girls who have been a part of previous summits or a part of Girls Inc. of the YWCA will be speaking about what they experienced through the Girls Summit and the organization as a whole. Project & development director Liz Wierbinski recalls a success story of a young girl who will be a part of the panel on April 29th.

“She was an active member of the Girls Inc and now she’s in high school pursuing a career in STEM. It’s just great to hear that these young girls have the choice to pursue careers in science and math and the others,” Wierbinski said. “Not many girls even thought of going into the STEM careers a few years ago.”

This year, the Girls Summit will begin at 8:30am with registration and will end at 3:30pm. The event will take place at SUNY ESF and will cost $5. Lunch will also be provided free of charge. For more information and the registration page, visit ywca-syracuse.org.