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SMART Girls Residential Session Emphasizes Math, Science


Participants in the SMART Girls residential program at Pennsylvania College of Technology explore the world of surgery in the college%E2%80%99s Surgical Technology Lab.Pennsylvania College of Technology hosted its seventh annual residential SMART Girls (Science and Math Applications in Real World Technologies for Girls) program July 15-18. Twenty-five girls participated in the program, which is for young women entering ninth and 10th grades.

Trends show that a high percentage of girls stop taking higher-level math and science courses in their early teens, which leaves them at a disadvantage in pursuing many careers. One of the goals for SMART Girls is to encourage an interest in those subject areas by showing their real-world applications.

The program features workshops designed to expose young women to career options in technologies that are currently dominated by men, and it encourages strong foundations in math and science during high school.

Field trips this year included the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority, Williamsport Sanitary Authority and West Pharmaceutical Services. Hands-on workshops included a range of applied- technology career areas including the physics of bridges, forensic science, local geology, landscape design, surgical technology and cryptography. Fifteen workshops were offered during the camp, featuring career areas representing six of Penn College’s eight academic schools.

The keynote address this year was presented by 2006 Penn College alumna Sara Rust. Rust was the first female graduate in the college’s electric power generation technology associate-degree major. She is employed as a plant equipment operator trainee at PPL’s Brunner Island power plant in York.

In her address, Rust emphasized the need for women within nontraditional industries, and she encouraged each camp participant to take pride in “being a geek,” demonstrating their talents and abilities without being intimidated by stereotypes or traditional expectations. SMART Girls is an initiative devised by a group of Penn College faculty women and supported by the college to counter an alarming academic and societal pattern that shows women are less likely to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology.

The program, which offers one-day sessions in spring and fall for seventh- and eighth-graders and a three-day residential session for girls entering ninth and 10th grades in July, provides participants the opportunity to experience math and science as a foundation for careers in technology.

For more information, visit online , send e-mail or call the college’s Career Services Office at (570) 327-4502.

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