On Saturday, March 21st, 1,200 middle and high school girls from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties attended the 35th annual Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics at Skyline College. EYH is a conference geared toward increasing their interest in the critical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) careers through hands-on workshops.

Collage of  Conference Photos

The conference is planned by volunteers from Skyline College and North San Mateo County Soroptimist. The Soroptimist also funded scholarships and school buses for north county girls.

Girls came from 194 schools in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, and Stanislaus counties. Most (87%) of the girls are in middle schools. 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 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, Paul Rueckhaus, Jing Folsom, Elsa Jimenez-Samayoa, Nancy Ruis, Janice McOmber, Gary Cheang, Janelle Barbier, Shari Bookstaff, Jocelyn Vila, and Tatiana Irwin. The program is available at www.skylinecollege.edu/eyh. Another 70 Skyline College students volunteered to be go’fers at the conference to help usher girls between their sessions.

President Stanback Stroud started the day by welcoming the girls and introducing keynote speaker Carol Bauman, who gave an inspiring talk, encouraging the girls that they can do anything they want. Ms. Bauman is one of the Star Wars Women who created the Star Wars visual effects and is currently a Designer at Kernerworks.

In other sessions, girls dissected squid, designed a secret code, collected forensic evidence at the “murder in the produce aisle,” made lip balm as “cosmetic chemists,” and “scrubbed in for surgery.” There were 38 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, Judith Crawford, 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, and Judy Lewis.

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