This weekend I attended the Expanding Your Horizons Conference. Expanding Your Horizons is a non-profit network that strives to nutures young women in the fields of math and science. Conferences are held all over the United States for seventh and eighth grade girls. At these conferences the girls have fun with difference math and science projects presented in hands-on workshops by women working in the fields of math and science. The conference I went to this weekend was the the 17th one held here in Sonoma County at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) began back in 1974 (when I was in high school) to increase the number of qualified women in math, science, technology and engineering careers. I was at Mills College when the first EYH conference was held so I have been following it since. Back when I was in high school, the boys were better at math and science. This is not the case today. Go to any high school and the AP math and science classes are predominantly girls. Even though the educational choices for women have increased, they are not choosing to go into the science, engineering, technology and business careers in the same numbers as men. As a result, engineering schools across the country are scrambling to find qualified candidates for their programs.
As an adult, I could not attend the workshops set up for the students. I attended a great workshop to help parents foster their students. We talked about many subjects including what to do when the homework is too hard and girl bullying in cyberspace. The students workshops ranged from a chemistry project where the girls made bath bombs to a electronic project where the girls made a simple circuit board.
Many people feel we need to start helping our boys get back on track with their math and science skills. While this is true the solution for boys and girls obviously needs to be different. This is why the EYH organizers allow boys to attend their conferences but have separate workshops for the boys.
If you would like more information about EYH:
A great article about encouraging your girl in math and science: