Young women expand horizons

Nov 3 2012 - 10:28pm

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SOUTH OGDEN -- Tayler Whitby wants to be a neonatologist one day and is already preparing herself for that important role in the community.

The Ogden teenager signed up to attend the 12th annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference at South Ogden Junior High School on Saturday. The event, sponsored by ATK Aerospace Systems provides a hands on experience for girls to explore different careers in science and math.

"My mom is a newborn intensive care nurse at McKay-Dee Hospital and she takes care of the babies there," Tayler said. "I really love babies and I would like to be a neonatologist one day. You have to be good at science and math and I think what I'm doing today will really help me."

During the daylong conference, nearly 500 girls from over 100 schools in Northern Utah got to choose to participate in three out of 28 workshops that included veterinary medicine, weather, robotics, speed, slime, rockets, gravity and polymers.

Exploring Your Horizons was created in 1974 by an informal group of educators and scientists concerned about low female participation in math classes.

The main goal of the conference is to excite young women about science, math and technical careers where men are still in the majority, said Kay Anderson, communications specialist for ATK.

"Three out of four women in Utah are out in the workforce, but men are still in the majority of math and science careers," said Anderson. "This conference is held to engage these girls in the science and math areas and get them interested in higher education, particularly in those fields."

Each workshop was taught by a woman in the math and science fields. Instructors included engineers, chemists, veterinarians, software developers, doctors, professors and scientists.

"I would like to be a science teacher one day," said 11-year-old Hannah Harding. "I like being in the classroom and would like to teach students about science. This helps you to learn to get out in the world and do different stuff."

Brynlee Barker said she would like to be a doctor one day.

"I love learning about science and you have to be good at science to be a doctor," she said. "Girls can do anything boys can do. We're just as strong as boys. No, we're stronger than boys."

Alex Dosier volunteered this year as an assistant in the "Be a Veterinarian for a Day" workshop after attending the conference as a participant for three years.

"EYH is so empowering for young women," she said. "It helps them realize there are tons of fun careers that use math and science."

Dr. Susan R. Madsen, Orin R. Woodbury professor of leadership and ethics in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University, was the keynote speaker at the conference.

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