CASTINE, Maine – The Maine Maritime Academy waterfront and laboratories were humming with activity on Saturday morning, May 21 as 47 girls from nine area high schools engaged in hands-on engineering and marine science laboratory experiences and then climbed aboard the Susan J. Clark, a navigation training vessel, to tour Castine Harbor.
The first annual STEM Conference for Girls at Maine Maritime Academy was co-hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Maine, which held its State Convention at MMA over the weekend. A collegiate partner with AAUW, Maine Maritime Academy teamed up with the state branch to provide a special opportunity for area high school girls to interact with AAUW members at various points throughout the day and to meet STEM professionals to learn more about their careers.
“Our goal in hosting the conference is to pique the interest of the girls in all of the opportunities available to them should they choose a STEM education,” said Elizabeth True, Ed.D., MMA Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “Many students do not realize the variety of careers they can pursue with an engineering, science or technology degree.”
The lunch hour featured a talk by Paige Brown, Bangor High School senior, and winner of the 2016 First Place Medal of Distinction for Global Good in the national Intel Science Talent Search. The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the Future of STEM, featuring Maine young women engaged in STEM careers. Moderated by Elizabeth True, the discussion included panelists Rebecca Bell, a Research Assistant at Jackson Laboratory; Sadie Alley Ferreira (MMA Class of 2003) of Sundog Solar; Sarah Frisk, a Senior Software Developer at Vets First Choice; and Angélique Harbert, Senior Manager of Configuration Management, Propulsion Systems at Orbital ATK.
“It was extremely gratifying to hear from the panel of young women in STEM careers that it really does make a difference for girls to engage in a variety of STEM experiences at all ages, and that the younger the age, the better,” said Kristin G. Sweeney, President of AAUW of Maine.
John Bapst Memorial High School chemistry teacher, Mary Lammert, said of the experience, “Our students talked all the way home about the program…Thanks for giving them such a wonderful opportunity to see science in action!”
Students from Calais High School, Sumner Memorial High School, Bangor High School, John Bapst Memorial High School, George Stevens Academy, Deer-Isle Stonington High School, Old Town High School, Belfast Area High School, and Mount Desert Island High School participated in the first annual event.
AAUW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. For more information, visit: http://aauw-me.aauw.net/
Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 18 degree programs in engineering, management, science, and transportation. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented programs of study. Year after year, the job placement rate for MMA graduates exceeds 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. In 2014 and 2015, MONEY magazine ranked Maine Maritime Academy the #1 Public College in America on their Best Colleges list. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Maine Maritime Academy in 1941.