KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOn Saturday, March 15, over 1,000 middle and high school girls from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties attended Expanding Your Horizons at Skyline College. EYH is a conference geared toward increasing their interest in the critical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) through hands-on workshops.

Skyline College hosted its 34th annual Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics. The conference is planned by volunteers from Skyline College and North San Mateo County Soroptimists. The Soroptimists also funded scholarships and school buses for north county girls.

Girls came from 100 schools from Hayward to Gilroy and San Francisco to San Jose. Over 100 scientists volunteered to present workshops. A few workshops were presented by Skyline College students and Skyline College alumnae who have completed their baccalaureates. Skyline College faculty who presented workshops and/or mentored students developing workshops include Alice Erskine, Carmen Velez, Kylin Johnson, Ann Gearhart, Ray Hernandez, Melissa Michelitsch, Nick Kapp, Shari Bookstaff, Chris Case, Carina Anttila, Yvonne Malloy, Jo Silken, Nancy Ruis, Janice McOmber, and Julia Johnson. Another 70 Skyline College students volunteered to be go’fers at the conference to help usher girls between their sessions.

Girls in attendance heard first from keynote speaker Jan Yanehiro, who gave an inspiring talk, encouraging the girls present that they can do anything they want. Ms. Yanehiro is a former KPIX journalist and currently Director of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University. In her morning address, she pushed the girls in attendance to pursue their dreams

The girls written evaluations show they were excited about their workshops. Their enjoyment of learning is what the conference each year is about. If we can inspire these girls to take an interest in science and math, it will open so many doors to them. Women, and especially minority women, are underrepresented in math, science, and engineering. Studying math and science will open many careers for the girls and allow them to have the lifestyle they want.

In other sessions, girls dissected squid, built a roller coaster, collected forensic evidence at the “murder in the produce aisle,” made lip balm as “cosmetic chemists,” and “scrubbed in for surgery.” There were 40 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. Students and adults can obtain more information by visiting the conference website at skylinecollege.edu/eyh.

Planning committee members include AJ Bates, Shari Bookstaff, Pat Carter, Chris Case, Stephen Fredricks, Jon Freedman, Mousa Ghanma, Kylin Johnson, Pay Tyler, and Carmen Velez, and Alana Utsumi. Community members on the planning committee include Arlene Chang, Barbara Erli, and Judy Lewis.

Article by Dr. Christine Case