The Big Day
The 2017 Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) STEM Conference was a total success! Saturday, November 4 was a very special day for 450 middle school girls from all over Wisconsin. Conference attendees selected three STEM Career Areas of interest. This year, attendees were also able to experience some of the cool happenings at the Wisconsin Science Festival held in the Discovery Center. Upon arrival, attendees were divided into groups of 10-11 girls. Each small group was assigned two volunteer Group Leaders (who, traditionally, are female undergraduates studying in a STEM field). Group Leaders spend the entire conference day with their group while sharing personal experiences and goals in their own STEM education and career endeavors.
Each group attended three fifty-minute Career Sessions. Career Sessions are presented by volunteers (e.g. women in STEM fields), some of whose workplaces are off of the UW Campus (like Edgewood College, Strand Associates and Filament Games, to name a few). Conference attendees were bused to and from the off-site presentations. Volunteer Bus Monitors made sure things went smoothly (e.g. made sure all groups arrived at their presentations on time and that any belongings left on the bus found their owner, etc.).
EYH Volunteers from DoIT User Services
A small army of volunteers makes all the EYH moving parts operate smoothly year after year. This year, Teresa Arauco, who created and maintains the EYH website, also coordinated all the volunteers. Among some of the volunteer positions: morning greeters, registration table help, all day student nurse(s), photographer(s), bus monitors and event set up and tear down.
Veteran EYH Coordinating Staff (e.g. Madison women in various STEM fields who coordinate this event, many since the late 1980s) were especially in awe of a remarkable group of volunteers. Our own Abrianna Barca, who is earning her MBA, expressed an interest in volunteering early on. When she requested the link for the Volunteer Spreadsheet, it turned out that she requested it for her whole MBA cohort of 8 women, all of whom are work various STEM fields! Veteran EYH Coordinating Staff said that their presence, engaging manner and camaraderie left a really wonderful impression on EYH attendees. Abrianna and her MBA cohort made marked improvements in the efficiency of registration and keeping the girls on task while on the buses and at their various Career Presentations. One among them volunteered as photographer, her images are included in this article.
Quick Post-Conference Chat with Abrianna
Q1: What did you expect when you signed up to volunteer for 2017 EYH?
AB: I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to volunteer. That said, it was a great way to give back, have fun, and learn new things!
Q2: What surprised you the most from this experience?
AB: It was so cool to get to attend the sessions out at Madison College (Truax Campus) – I learned a lot about different industries like electrical engineering and geology.
Q3: What would you say to someone who was interested in volunteering for the event or presenting to a group of attendees?
AB: If you are even remotely interested, I would really encourage you to sign up. It is a one day volunteer commitment which makes it easy to help out! It was a lot of fun to talk with the girls, attend the sessions, and volunteer. I was able to sign up with a group of women from my MBA cohort. This meant we were able to give back but also network with one another.
Check back here if you want to be a part of next year’s super-fun event.
Article Photo Credit and a Very Special Thanks to: Jordan Lee