SOUTH OGDEN -- The next Jane Goodall may have been experimenting inside the walls of South Ogden Junior High on Saturday morning.
Girls in grades six through nine gathered at the school to participate in ATK's annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference.
The EYH program was created in 1974 by an informal group of scientists and educators who were concerned about low female participation in math and science classes. The conference is an effort to engage girls in science and math and encourage them to consider careers in those fields.
The conference, which is sponsored by ATK in partnership with the Weber County School District and the Utah Math-Science Network, featured almost 600 girls from 115 schools in Weber, Davis, Box Elder, Cache and Salt Lake counties.
Students were able to choose from more than 30 different workshops, including crime scene investigation, rockets, veterinarian skills, engineering and a green energy demonstration.
"I've learned quite a bit about green energy," said Mount Ogden seventh grader Haley Colgate. "Like windmills and solar panels. It's been pretty interesting."
Colgate won a competition building a small car from Legos and seeing how far it could run on solar power.
"I just chose the biggest wheels I could find, because I thought they would move the car farther," Colgate said of her winning strategy.
Sally Marsh, a physicist at ATK and chairman of the EYH conference, said women are typically under-represented in math and science career fields.
"We want to open these girls' eyes to a number of different things," she said. "Hopefully, some things that they might not have previously considered."
All of the instructors at the conference are women with professional careers in math or science.
Marsh said instructors strive to present practical applications of mathematical and scientific concepts in ways that will appeal to the female students.
"It's good for the girls to have role models and examples," Marsh said. "These are real professional women from the local community who are doing great things and they can give these girls some real hands-on experience."
Sarah Hiza, a chemist who works in propellant explosives and pyrotechnics at ATK, taught the girls a few things about chemistry.
"This is motivating for me," Hiza said. "Because there is a hope that these girls will continue to study math and science and keep an open mind about it. Hopefully we can inspire someone here to pursue something other than a typical career path."
The conference keynote speaker was Joy de Lisser, vice president and general manager of ATK.