PIQUA – More than 200 students ranging from sixth to 11th grade engaged in a day of learning and fun at Edison State Community College on Friday, Dec. 2, for the 11th annual “We Are IT!” event. The daylong program is designed to help boost interest of young women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The event began with a keynote address from Shelley Thiebeau, a registered nurse at Grandview Hospital. Thiebeau, an Edison State graduate, spoke to the young ladies about how the principles of STEM fields impact her career as a nurse.
“It’s really important that we get the next generation excited about nursing because we are going to need a lot of nurses to replace current nurses as they retire,” Thiebeau explained. “And the healthcare community is growing due to an aging population.”
Thiebeau went on to explain the various types of career paths and areas of healthcare students could pursue after receiving a college education.
“So no matter what career path you choose, you are the future of America,” added Thiebeau. “It’s important for you to get an education because an education will stay with you your entire life. Once you get a degree, nobody can take that away from you and it is not something you can lose.”
Each of the girls chose three breakout sessions from a total of thirteen different sessions offered. Topics of breakout sessions ranged from crime scene investigation and computer hardware to human simulation and robotics. During lunch, students had the opportunity to network with area STEM professionals.
In addition to giving students a look at what they could do for a living somewhere down the road, many of the day’s sessions focused on topics that are relevant in their daily lives. A session titled, “Do I really use this later?” discussed math and science in the workplace and how things you learn now will help in the future.
To wrap up the day, students were encouraged to participate in an essay contest. The theme of the essay asked students to describe how they best embodied the characteristics of the event’s mascot, “Mitse” (Math, Information Technology, Science, Engineering). A total of 78 students entered the essay contest with the first place winner receiving a laptop with accessories.
To further reinforce the use of technology, a selfie station was made available to participants. Students had the opportunity to use their smartphones to take pictures and share with fellow participants using a hashtag on Instagram. At the end of the day, a selfie was selected at random to receive a prize.