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Conference seeks to inspire high school girls' interest in in STEM careers

More than 100 high school girls from 10 Midwestern states will attend an inaugural conference at IUPUI designed to inspire them to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics in college and pursue a STEM career.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 135 girls will attend the three-day Girls in STEM MAEOPP Pre-College Student Leadership Conference beginning May 29. The students are from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The conference was organized by the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, with assistance from the IU School of Informatics and Computing, the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science, TRIO/Upward Bound and the Office for Women at IUPUI.

The association is a consortium of professionals from the TRIO and Educational Opportunity Programs that was formed to help level the playing field of educational opportunity for first-generation, low-income and disabled students.

During the conference, the girls will:

  • Engage in hands-on activities in laboratory settings.
  • Learn about colleges, college majors and careers.
  • Meet with college students, professors and professional women.
  • Tour the Schools of Informatics and Computing, Engineering and Technology, and Science.
  • Participate in critical thinking and discussion exercises.
  • Hear from motivational speakers.

According to the association, the need for such a conference is clear. It cites U.S. News and World Report, which said only 13 percent of girls say they plan to pursue a STEM career.

If the U.S. is to stay competitive in the global market, the number of women in STEM fields must be increased, the association said.