Edmonds College’s Expanding Your Horizons empowers over 300 girls to explore STEM fields

A wide range of presenters, including Arvi Kvenen from Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), held STEM workshops for girls during Expanding Your Horizons at Edmonds College on March 27. (Photo by Arutyun Sargsyan/Edmonds College)

Edmonds College hosted over 300 eighth- to 12th-grade girls from the Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett school districts March 27 for an Expanding Your Horizons event. The annual gathering, designed to maximize young women’s exposure to STEM careers, content and role models, was part of the nationwide Techbridge Girls’ STEM events.

“The college is thrilled to provide this opportunity to local girls in our community,” said Edmonds Director of Outreach Marc Gehlsen. “We had over 20 interactive and hands-on workshops led by women. They were able to share their passion for STEM and hopefully make a lasting impression on attendees.”

The workshops covered various STEM topics, including forensic DNA testing, architectural 3D modeling, medicine development, sustainable fisheries and moon rover construction.

For many students, the event was their first experience on a college campus and their first exposure to female leaders in STEM fields.

“We have come together to celebrate something truly extraordinary, and that is the boundless potential of women in STEM,” Dean of STEM Dr. Carey Schroyer said during the event’s opening remarks. “The path for women in science has not always been easy, but the number of women getting STEM degrees has increased. Women now account for 45% of doctoral degrees in STEM.”

Gracie Ermi, a computer scientist who uses AI for environmental research, was the keynote speaker. She shared her journey and stressed the importance of role models.

“Finding role models is a great way to help yourself as you figure out what you want to do,” Ermi said. “Learning about someone with a job you’re interested in can help give you ideas of how you might get there someday.”

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