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Introduce girls to STEM day

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Pacific News

Pacific hosts girls from local high school for STEM awareness

Feb 23, 2018

University of the Pacific faculty and students welcomed 26 students from the Merlo Institute of Environmental Technology, a high school in Stockton, in celebration of "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day," which is held annually as part of National Engineers Week. Pacific's event goes broader than just engineering, incorporating several STEM fields. The girls had the opportunity to visit with faculty and students from a variety of science and engineering programs, and attended a panel discussion with several women who shared about how they turned their interest in science into meaningful careers. 

"It's important for these girls to see women working as professional scientists in a variety of fields, and that's what today is all about," said Laura Rademacher, associate professor and chair of Geological and Environmental Sciences.

The group participated in hands-on activities that included a geosciences presentation by Rademacher, a tour and lesson in the Robb Garden with director Patty Gray, a visit to the Cube to learn about virtual reality and 3-D printing, and sessions at the Chambers Technology Center hosted by Shelly Gulati, associate professor of bioengineering and Mary Kay Camarillo, associate professor of civil engineering.

"This is a really cool thing for UOP to do," said Merlo tenth-grader Giselle Gallegos, who is participating in the event for the second year. "Last year did get me interested in science and now I'm planning to go to college for marine biology, or something related to work saving the oceans."

Pacific environmental hydrology student Sara Warix '18 agrees that hosting special events focused on attracting more girls to STEM fields is important, but also noted that there is a balance among genders at Pacific. 

"I attended a smaller high school that didn't even have a geology class, so yes I definitely think it's important to have these girls visit campus and learn," Warix said. "In my department there are just as many female students as men, so I'd say Pacific is ahead of the curve."

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