Rapid growth and high demand are driving the need for more support of #girlSTEM, the area’s largest educational conference for students. Organizers at United Way of Bucks County and the Bucks County Intermediate Unit are seeking both volunteer presenters and sponsors to ensure the continued success of the conference in 2017.
The #girlSTEM Conference, which will take place on May 18, 2017 at Delaware Valley University, is designed to inspire girls in grades 6 – 10 to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Attendees engage with and learn from professional women working in STEM related jobs. With a diverse range of fields represented – agriculture, banking, physics, nursing, marine biology, real estate, engineering, app design, and many more – girls really get a chance to see what they can be.
In 2016, over 800 girls representing every community in Bucks County attended the conference. As a result of attending #girlSTEM 2016; 97% of girls felt motivated to do well in school, 96% of girls felt engaged in their own learning and 95% of girls said #girlSTEM helped them plan ahead, make career choices, and feel optimistic about their future.
Organizers say that the ability to host over 800 students again in 2017 will depend largely on community support.
According to Dr. Lindsey Sides, the Intermediate Unit’s Coordinator of Teaching, Learning, and Nonpublic Services, the challenge will be having enough high-quality presenters on-site that day. “We need at least 20 – 25 presenters per session, though hopefully some volunteers will stay for more than one session,” she says.
Sides notes that the goal this year is to pre-register girls for their sessions, much like a professional conference. To get this done, all presenter information must be confirmed no later than Saturday, April 1, 2017. Session proposals will be reviewed on an ongoing basis; presenters are encouraged to submit an application as early as possible.
“With over 800 girls this year, it is absolutely necessary to have enough presenters, and enough information about each of their sessions, by early April,” she says.
Marissa Christie, President and CEO at United Way of Bucks County, which funds #girlSTEM, stresses that additional sponsors are needed as well.”This is a phenomenal program and it’s important that we keep it free for all girls to attend. We can’t do that without sponsors. PECO has already stepped up as the presenting sponsor, but we need considerably more support. At this point, we need at least five or six more sponsors,” she says.
Women interested in volunteering as presenters can visit: http://bciu.formstack.com/forms/2017presenter_proposal. Sessions should be designed to be interactive, hands-on, and informative. The deadline to volunteer as a presenter is April 1, 2017. Questions about presenting at #girlSTEM should be directed to Dr. Lindsey Sides at email@example.com.
Businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring the event should contact: Andrea Walls, United Way of Bucks County, Development & Communication Manager, at 215.949.1660 ext 114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.