The AAUW-OML STEM Conference at Saint Mary’s College of California creates educational opportunities for women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The program has been recognized by AAUW-CA Spotlight on Outstanding Programs 2016-2017 http://www.aauw-ca.org/outstandingprograms.
We are passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and its powerful impact on middle school girls. We established a one-day STEM conference where girls experience interactive workshops introduced by women working in these fields. Our venture originated in 2015, when we formed a partnership with the School of Science at Saint Mary’s College, and Expanding Your Horizons (EYH).
The day begins with a keynote address from a highly successful STEM professional who talks about her background, career path, and expertise. Each girl attends 3 hands-on STEM workshops led by STEM field professionals, who serve as role models. The workshops focus on STEM subjects, such as FBI crime scene technology, building a better battery, exploring the inside of computers, creating optical art, and understanding the physics of air and space flight.
The conference also includes a parent program. In 2017, the topic was “The Emotional, Social, and Academic Needs of Teenage Girls” presented by a high school counselor, a nutritionist, a family counselor, and a software engineer. The program was well received and in 2018, we are expanding the topic to include the experiences of current college students and recent STEM graduates.
Besides volunteers from the branch, we incorporate Tech Trek and Sister-to-Sister alumna, and local high school girls to provide assistance in the workshops. We are very proud of our special “Ambassador” program for high school girls. Interested girls have the opportunity to take on leadership roles ,working side-by-side with our branch leadership team to put on the conference. In 2017, there were girls from Acalanes, Campolindo and Miramonte High Schools. These girls help to plan the conference, train volunteers, and monitor and troubleshoot all activities on the day of the conference. Our goal is to make this conference accessible to everyone, so there is a small registration fee and scholarships available. We are very thankful to our donors: Saint Mary’s College, Chevron, Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, and the individuals who make this conference possible.