CSM Event Inspires Girls to Pursue Careers in Math, Science

a:10:{i:0;s:1639:"The National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) held its annual regional conference Oct. 8-9 at the College of Southern Maryland’s La Plata Campus. The two-day conference touched on meeting the training needs of local companies

Presentations, Hands-on Activities, Panel Discussions Led by Professional Women

            The message from professional women to area teenage girls, teachers and parents at the Women + Math Conference held at the College of Southern Maryland’s La Plata Campus was to take as many math classes as possible in high school and to learn to network with peers and professionals who share similar passions and goals.  

            “Young women are sometimes unaware of the many exciting careers that they can pursue using math skills,” said CSM Professor of Math Sandra Poinsett, who along with peer math instructors Mary Bilmanis and Stephanie McCaslin began the conference five years ago. “Putting the girls together with successful women who have exciting jobs might inspire them to pursue similar careers—maybe in fields they hadn’t thought of before.” 

            “It is sometimes hard for kids to see the baby steps that people take to get where they are,” said Cia Morey, who brought her daughter Ally, 14, a freshman at La Plata High School, to the conference. “Here, they can see what you can achieve by being good at math.”

            In addition to workshops, the conference included keynote remarks by money coach and author Olivia Mellan who said that it was not too early for the girls to begin developing a good ‘relationship’ with money.

            “We are conditioned to think that if we go to the mall, and don’t buy anything, we’re a failure,” Mellan said. Instead, she encourages individuals to develop a spending plan, set spending goals and learn about managing money, including investments.

            Young women from as far away as Loudoun County and Colonial Beach, Va., and a diverse group of successful women from as far away as Manhattan, met Oct. 17 to discuss careers in finance, architecture, engineering, pharmacy, health and computer science, astrophysics and cyber security—careers that many young women may not consider for themselves.

            A panel discussion, beginning with introductions and brief bios from each presenter, included, Mellan; Melissa Olson-Worrell from Naval Surface Warfare Center; Cristina Campbell from Maryland Occupational Safety and Health; Felicia Jones-Selden from NASA; CSM Professor and Pharmacist Dr. Ellen Wilson; CSM Professor and Radiologist Dr. Melanie Osterhouse; Program Manager, Gun Propellant Development Dr. Chris Michienzi from Naval Surface Warfare Center; Mechanical Engineer Mary Sherlock from Naval Surface Warfare Center; Christine Parker from Parker Financial, LLC; CSM Computer Science Professor Renee Jenkins; Professor of Cyber Security Dr. Julie Ryan from George Washington University; and Architect Diane Kaufman Fredette from Pratt Institute.

            For information on math and science programs at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu.