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Army Research Lab & Battelle Hold Workshop for Girls, Women in STEM

The inaugural Young Women in Science and Engineering (YWISE) College and Career Workshop recently drew 50 students who spent time interacting with accomplished female scientists who shared advice, tips and life lessons.

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Fifty Young Women in Science and Engineering Program gather in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, MD – The inaugural Young Women in Science and Engineering (YWISE) College and Career Workshop recently drew 50 students who spent time interacting with accomplished female scientists who shared advice, tips and life lessons. The event was sponsored by Dr. Melanie Will-Cole, an Army Research Laboratory (ARL) senior research scientist and Fellow and was held at the Battelle Conference Center, 1204 Technology Drive, Aberdeen, MD.

The first-of-its-kind event offered high school girls attending The Science and Math Academy (SMA) at Aberdeen High School unprecedented access to successful women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The workshop was designed to facilitate candid discussions on trends, obstacles and opportunities for women in STEM fields.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation, women constitute 46.5 percent of the U.S. workforce but hold just 25 percent of math and computer science jobs and 11 percent of engineering jobs.

Cole said the inspiration behind the workshop is her daughter Alex, a senior at SMA. “Over the last several years I watched Alex and her girlfriends grow into budding young scientists who learned to question, analyze, hypothesize, and conceptually understand the fields of science, math and engineering,” she said. “Although these SMA girls are exposed to science and engineering research via their SRT (science research and technology, which they take every year) classes and capstone senior thesis, I felt something was missing.”

Janice Rhodes, who has worked at Battelle for 20 years and is Manager of ID/IQ programs, is a lifelong Aberdeen resident and a graduate of Aberdeen High School. “When I went to Aberdeen the focus was not on math and science for women,” she said. “The young ladies who attended really connected with the speakers. It’s one of the few programs I’ve seen where these promising young students have a chance to interact with professionals in science and technology fields. I think that’s been the missing ingredient.”

Speakers included Dr. Amy Bodycott, Associate Veterinarian from the Churchville Veterinary Clinic and Swan Creek Veterinary Clinic in Harford County; Dr. Nina M. Lamba, President & Chief Scientist of CCL Biomedical, Inc. in Havre de Grace; Dr. Leslie Lamberson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The John Hopkins University and Assistant Professor at Drexel University; Dr. Kathleen Meier-Hellstern, Executive Director of AT&T Government Solutions from Middletown, NJ; and Dr. Amy Lafreniere, Senior Public Health Analyst in Battelle’s National Security Emergency Management group, Baltimore. ARL’s Dr. Cole also spoke during the workshop.

Speakers presented vignettes on their careers and personal lives during the workshop, which also incorporated a couple of mixers designed to engage girls and women in open, frank discussions.

Battelle’s Dean Ertwine, a retired Army Brigadier General, said, “Battelle has a long history of supporting STEM education in Harford County and in Maryland, including support for the Science and Math Academy since its inception. At Battelle we believe that involvement with day-to-day science education at local schools is critical to development of the next generation STEM workforce.”