Math Options Program Keeps Careers in the Equation

Presenter Sue Swope, an adjunct instructor in chemistry at Penn State DuBois, instructed girls in making a simple hydrometer during her workshop. Hydrometers are used in work with chemistry and other applications to measure the density of liquids. (Provided photo)

DUBOIS – The annual Math Options program at Penn State DuBois once again welcomed young girls from around the region for a first-hand look at some math and science intensive career fields on May 8.

A total of 149 seventh grade girls from 10 school districts participated in the program. They were introduced to careers and every day activities that require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The program is designed to teach young girls how skills in these areas apply to a variety of real-world situations and rewarding careers.

The hope is that they stay interested in mathematics by learning about the opportunities and success that they can realize through its use.

The program is aimed at the specific seventh grade female demographic because statistics show that they are at the greatest risk for losing interest in these essential subjects.

“This is an age at which girls begin to lose interest in STEM fields, and all of the workshops we have here deal with STEM fields and their practical application in careers,” said Heather Parizek, an instructor in mathematics and geosciences at Penn State DuBois, as well as Math Options co-director.

“All the workshops are also instructed by women who work in fields using math and science, so the instructors really serve as role models for these girls, too.”

In all, 13 presenters ran workshops that ranged in topics from chemistry, to computer hardware, and even wildlife conservation, and how math and science is used in each field.

Faculty members from Penn State DuBois, as well as professional women from area business and organizations rounded out the lineup of presenters.

Schools that participated in this year’s program include Brockway, Brookville, Clarion-Limestone, Curwensville, DuBois Area, DuBois Central Catholic, Harmony, Kane, St. Francis School and St. Marys Area.

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