COSAM News Articles 2023 February Third annual EmpowHER Conference celebrates positive female role models in sciences to girls throughout Alabama
Third annual EmpowHER Conference celebrates positive female role models in sciences to girls throughout Alabama
Welcome to the 2023 EmpowHER Conference. Left to right: Kim Holman, Bennett Schrimpf, Katie Marlow, Teddy Dubose, Cara Britain, Kristen Jackson, Mary Lou Ewald, Jess Gilpin and Kimberly Mulligan-Guy.
More than 130 girls from the state of Alabama participated in the third annual EmpowHER Conference hosted by the Office of Outreach in the College or Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM.
The conference is held in conjunction with the International Day for Women and Girls in Science.
Mary Lou Ewald, director of COSAM’s Office of STEM Outreach, welcomed the girls and their chaperones to the event. Ewald explained, “EmpowHER provides a unique opportunity for young girls to interact with female role models in STEM fields. This lets them see themselves as scientists.”
Kimberly Mulligan-Guy, assistant dean of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity in COSAM, asked the group if they know a woman who is an engineer, a mathematician or a scientist.
Girls shared thoughts about what they think of when they think of science. Participants responded with answers about the periodic table, working in a lab, inventing new items and much more.
“This is one of my favorite annual events because girls get to experience Auburn University and see positive female representation that will help grow their love of science,” said Mulligan-Guy. “We need more diverse voices in the field of STEM and this event reminds these girls that it is okay to love science, be yourself and be supported through their journey.”
“Today, we are going to learn about the role of science and see how science can innovate, demonstrate, elevate, advance and sustain our society,” said Mulligan-Guy.
After the opening session, break-out sessions were held where the participants could hear directly from female role models and ask questions.
“My students loved being able to break apart an actual flower to learn about all of its parts,” said Hailey Bennett, a history teacher from Redland Middle School.
Laconya Warwick, a physical sciences teacher at Wetumpka Middle School shared how her students were inspired by a passionate presenter.“My girls really enjoyed listening about STEM careers with Chelsea Rand-Fleming,” Warwick said. Rand-Fleming is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The girls had an opportunity to engage with STEM exhibits hosted by COSAM and other AU faculty, staff and students.
“My students learned about bee behavior and native bees in the exhibit hall,” said Janine Newill from Lanett High School, a high school counselor who attended the conference for the first time.
The exhibits gave girls an opportunity to see animals up close, participate in chemistry experiments, and learn about STEM degrees at Auburn.
“Being able to hold a snake and then learn about snake habitats made a memorable impression on these students,” said Jacquis Cofield, a math teacher from Lanett High School.
A panel discussion with inspiring female students majoring in science concluded the event.
The EmpowHER panel included, left to right: Abby Frost, a fourth-year chemical engineering student; Caleah WIlliams, an undergraduate student majoring in biomedical sciences; Elizabeth Ledbetter, an undergraduate student majoring in biomedical sciences; Ashley Williams, a sixth-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences.
“I was able to conduct cell culture research and participate in the microbiology club during my time here at Auburn,” said Ledbetter who is planning on attending medical school this fall.
Ashley Williams, a sixth-year graduate student shared her insight with the girls. She shared her experiences with lab rotations and tagging sharks. Williams told girls to continue to develop their love for science.
The third annual EmpowHER conference made an impact on middle and high school students and encouraged them to continue to make a difference through STEM. This idea might be best represented in one student’s exclamation leaving the conference, “I know what I want to do now!”
View more photos from this year’s event:
Quantum Leaps – Kosolapoff Award and Lecture features cutting-edge research on capturing carbon dioxide and harvesting water from the atmosphere03/21/2023
Baumann (Outstanding Doctoral student, 2022--2023) and Eckert (Harry Merriwether Fellowship, 2023--2024) receive awards from the Graduate School03/16/2023