1,100 Girls Expand Their Horizons in Science and Math at Skyline College

Expand Your Horizons AttendeesOn Saturday, March 12, 1,100 middle and high school girls from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties attended the 36th annual Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) at Skyline College. EYH is a conference geared toward increasing their interest in the critical Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers through hands-on workshops.

The conference is planned by volunteers from Skyline College and North San Mateo County Soroptimist. The conference was funded by the President’s Innovation Fund. The Soroptimist also funded scholarships and school buses for north county girls.

Girls came from over 150 schools and most (87%) of them are in middle school. Over 100 scientists volunteered to present workshops. Additionally, Skyline College students and Skyline College alumnae who have completed their baccalaureates and professional degrees presented workshops. Skyline College faculty and staff who presented workshops and/or mentored students developing workshops include Alice Erskine, Nick Kapp, Sandra Hsu, Chris Case, Carla Grandy, Carina Anttila-Suarez, Judith Crawford, Jing Folsom, Elsa Jimenez-Samayoa, Nancy Ruis, Nada Nekrep, Janice McOmber, Gary Cheang, Janelle Barbier, Shari Bookstaff, Tadashi Tsuchida, Wendy Lum, Ana Castro, Pcyeta Stroud, Jocelyn Vila, Julia Johnson, Alina Varona, Jeremy Evangelista, and Lauren Ford (more info is available in the event program). Another 70 Skyline College students volunteered to be go’fers at the conference to help usher girls between their sessions.

Dean Tammy Rombinson started the day by welcoming the girls and introducing keynote speaker Fran Kalal, who gave an inspiring talk, encouraging the girls that they can do anything they want. Ms. Kalal “dresses” the animated characters at Pixar Studies.

In other sessions, girls designed a secret code, collected forensic evidence at the “murder in the produce aisle,” made lip balm as “cosmetic chemists,” “scrubbed in for surgery,” and learned the chemistry of magic tricks. There were 43 concurrent workshops for girls. Each girl participated in three workshops during the day.

Expanding Your Horizons aims to encourage girls to participate in high school math and science courses, provide role models for young women who are interested in math and science, and provide support for and promote interaction between people employed by industry and education.

Planning committee members include AJ Bates, Shari Bookstaff, Pat Carter, Chris Case, Gary Cheung, Stephen Fredricks, Jon Freedman, Mousa Ghanma, Ray Hernandez, Kylin Johnson, Nadia Tariq, and Alana Utsumi. Community members on the planning committee include Arlene Chang, Barbara Irli, Judy Lewis, and Kim Toneh.

Article by Chris Case | Photos by Andrea Caesar and Chris Case