GRRL Tech to Welcome 520 High School Girls from 30 Rhode Island area High Schools for STEM Career Expo

NORTH KINGSTON, R.I.-- Presented by Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s industry association for Information Technology and Bioscience, GRRL Tech (Girls Reaching Remarkable Levels) is an interactive technology expo offering female high school students an engaging look into dynamic and rewarding technology opportunities. Through industry mentoring and hands-on workshops, GRRL Tech aims to encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning and offer career insight into STEM careers and industries.

In its 11th installment, this year’s GRRL Tech expo was hosted by the University of Rhode Island for the first time. The expo paired faculty and staff with female industry professionals in facilitating 23 student workshops focused on STEM careers ranging from bioscience, animal science, and oceanography to engineering, physics, and computer science. Workshop sessions were held throughout the URI campus, including in the new Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences building.

GRRL Tech’s Keynote Speaker, Donna Sams; Retired Senior Vice President, PBM Systems for CVS Caremark Corp., delivered the opening keynote address, discussing the challenges and opportunities that resulted in the career pathway that she paved for herself. She encouraged students to follow their interests, have confidence in themselves, and not be deterred by challenges.

“STEM education is an increasing concern for both our students and our workforce,” said Kathie Shields, executive director of Tech Collective. “Not only do we want to inspire girls to be excited about science, technology, engineering and math careers, we want to insure that they obtain the basic logic and knowledge of learning behind these subjects as they all graduate into a knowledge-based economy where employers are looking for a new type of skilled-worker. We have seen the statistics that say women do not equally represent the STEM career fields, yet at the same time these are the jobs that are growing.”

U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration’s Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation reports; Women in STEM education and careers still presents a gender gap despite the fact that women fill close to half of all jobs in the US. In turn, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Additionally, women have obtained a disproportionately low share of STEM related undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering. There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. The good news—women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs—considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

After the opening remarks and keynote speaker, students attended 2 45-minute workshops that are facilitated by URI’s faculty and female professionals working in STEM career fields. Workshops at this year’s expo included; Chemistry—batteries and how they will power our future cars; Computer Science—digital forensics and solving cybercrimes; Engineering—students will learn what LED is and build their own flashlight; Phycology—how phycology is used with technology to influence decisions and behaviors; Biotechnology and Animal Health—students will visit URI’s Peckham Farm and work with lambs, Oceanography—the science of hurricanes. Educators and guidance counselors attended one workshop as well as an educator session offering resources and information about local programs related to STEM and career awareness.

GRRL Tech, is part of Tech Collective’s commitment to increasing awareness and participation in the STEM career fields. Dr. Laura Beauvais, Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs and Dr. Dean Libutti, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at URI, awarded this year’s scholarships. Four scholarships valued at $4,000 per year for four years were awarded to Alyssa Friedman of North Providence High School, Kimberly Geraghty of Johnston Senior High School, Megan Major of East Providence High School, and Morgan Quinley of North Smithfield High School.

Scholarship winners were selected by the GRRL Tech Committee for their exceptional scholarship essays addressing the questions:“Describe a time when science, technology, engineering or math has influenced your life and how this has inspired you to pursue a career in STEM. What ideas do you have for attracting more students to STEM careers in the future?” Scholarship winners were selected based on their essay addressing career goals and their vision of themselves and other students.



source: http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20120315005225/en



Philip Less Appointed Rhode Island’s Adult Education Director

The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has announced that Philip Less will serve as its state director of adult education beginning on Dec. 5. Less previously served as Arkansas’ statewide ESOL coordinator and as program advisor to 21 local providers in the northwest quadrant of the state. He also was Arkansas’ point person for accountability and for the National Reporting System for Adult Education. Less also served as director of a local ESOL program and taught in three states as well as in Croatia and the Netherlands. He chaired the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium state staff workgroup and is the chair-elect of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages’ adult education interest section.