Mt. San Jacinto College hosts 20th annual STEM conference for eighth-grade girls

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Hundreds of eighth-grade girls from the San Gorgonio Pass attended the annual American Association of University Women San Gorgonio Pass Group, Redlands Branch STEM Conference at Mt. San Jacinto College’s San Jacinto Campus. The conference included interactive displays on Animatronics, as well as other STEM demonstrations. Valley News/Courtesy of Mt. San Jacinto College photo

SAN JACINTO – Hundreds of eighth-grade girls from the San Gorgonio Pass attended the 20th annual American Association of University Women San Gorgonio Pass Group, Redlands Branch STEM Conference at Mt. San Jacinto College’s San Jacinto Campus Tuesday, Jan. 7.

The importance of supporting each other, having fun with math and exploring forensic science were among the lessons the 200 girls learned during the STEM conference.

Workshops were held by organizations that included the University of California Riverside; California Baptist University Riverside; San Bernardino Symphony; California State Polytechnic University Pomona; University of Redlands; San Bernardino Valley College; Cal Fire; California Department of Justice; Redlands Police; Esri Redlands; Ameresco Inc.; Sorenson Engineering and more. Sponsors and other supporters were: Sun Lakes Country Club Charitable Trust; Laura May Stewart Foundation; Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services; Beaver Medical Group, LLP; California Retired Teachers Association – San Gorgonio Pass; Sorenson Engineering and Soroptimist International of Beaumont-Banning.

Keynote speaker Amber Price, a documentary filmmaker and motivational speaker, reminded the girls to support each other and have a positive self-image during her speech titled “A Girl’s Guide to Finding herself and Finding Success.”

The event, organized by the AAUW San Gorgonio Pass Group of the Redlands Branch and hosted at the San Jacinto Campus by MSJC Outreach, is designed for eighth graders from middle schools in Banning and Beaumont. Leaders from the private and public sectors provided hands-on workshops that helped the teens explore careers involving the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Theresa Lantz, conference co-chair with the AAUW branch, and Rebecca Teague, MSJC’s dean of institutional effectiveness, planning, research and grants, welcomed the group. Teague encouraged the students to find out more about dual and concurrent enrollment at MSJC. MSJC honors students served as guides to make sure the young visitors made it to each workshop, Pam Ford, retired anthropology professor at MSJC, who served as a committee member, said.

Kelsie Jere of Beaumont said she learned how her current career goals of being a medical professional integrates with technology.

“I wasn’t really thinking about technology,” Jere said after attending one of the STEM workshops.

Layladela Fuent of Beaumont said, “It was fun because we got to interact with the project.”

Fuente attended the newly added AAUW workshop on Animatronics. Fuente has hopes to work for Disney doing robotics and shared how the conference inspired her goals.

“It’s encouraged it because I haven’t gotten to work with robots,” Fuentes said. “It just made it more fun and more interesting.”

Submitted by Mt. San Jacinto College.