SMWC hosts STEM conference for middle school girls

October 6th, 2015 | SMWC

EYH 2015
Participants learn about water filtration and how environmental engineers supply clean drinking water in the "Down the Drain and Back Again!" workshop at the Expanding Your Horizons conference at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) will host the eighth annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference for girls in middle school on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics™ (EYH) conferences nurture girls’ interest in science and math courses to encourage them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The conference is open to girls in grades 6-8 and their parents, teachers or troop leaders. Through exciting and interactive hands-on workshops, participants learn that studying STEM can be fun.

Keynote speaker, Maria T. Sellers, Technology Integration Specialist and eLearning Specialist for South Vermillion Community Schools (SVCS), will explain how it is critical that we use technology, learning environments and pedagogy to guide students rather than prescribe to students. In doing
 so, we create students who can seek information, solve problems and become life-long learners. Sellers will share some of the latest technologies used in the SVCS and will feature SVCS students: Alyson Chaney (Engineering), Shia Szczepanski and Kylee Yocum (Technology), Marissa Stein (Arts) and Madison Newburn (Math/Science).

There are 12 workshops available in which participants will meet with mathematicians, engineers and scientists who live and work in the Wabash Valley. These local workshop leaders will relate how they use math and science in their careers.

While the focus of the EYH conference is to provide hands-on learning experiences for girls, the conference offers a special session for accompanying adults to provide information on educational and career opportunities involving STEM. Participants will learn how to encourage and motive girls to remain interested in math and science. Julie Davidson, 2007 SMWC alum and principal at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Paris, Ill., and Janet Clark, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs at SMWC, will lead the discussions.

EYH 2015
The 2015 Expanding Your Horizons conference will take place at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College on Saturday, Oct. 31.

The girls will experience the fun of mathematics and science in two of the following workshops:


Learn the parts of a horse’s hoof and why care of the foot is so important. You will work with horses and see different types of therapeutic shoes used on horses. Angie McMillin, SMWC Equine Adjunct Instructor and Operations/Stable Manager


Did you know that the primary ingredient in toothpaste is mined like coal? Learn about minerals and their uses, then create your own “brand” of designer toothpaste. Take it home for your family to use. Toothbrush included. Diedre Adams, Science Teacher, West Vigo Middle School


Become a SciGirl and learn about frogs and citizen science! Scientists research frog and toad calls to study how our amphibian friends are doing. Listen to calls and create your own Wetland Band to match those of area frogs and toads. Learn how you can contribute to current scientific studies. Abby Koester, Education Coordinator, Terre Haute Children’s Museum


How do doctors treat patients who can’t tell them in words what is wrong? In this workshop, find out what a typical day is like for a vet and have a chance to evaluate some furry patients. Nancy Schenck, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Petcare Animal Hospital


When you take a shower or drink a glass of water, do you wonder where your water comes from or where it goes when it runs down the drain? Learn about how environmental engineers help to supply clean drinking water and also clean up dirty water before it is returned to the environment. Design and build your own simple water filtration system! Michelle Marincel Payne, Environmental Engineer, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT)


Alice is an innovative 3D program that makes it easy to create animations or games. The Alice project provides tools and materials for a conceptual core of computational thinking, problem-solving and computer programming. You will be able to learn to use the software and take Alice home with you to continue the fun. Deborah Gaff, Project Lead the Way and Science Teacher, Houser Jr/Sr High School


Learn about Boston Scientific less invasive medical devices. Have a chance to follow directions on an assembly line to build Lego structures as an operator would build a medical device product on an assembly line. Heather Light, Manufacturing Engineer, Boston Scientific Corporation


Hydroelectric power is the most widely used source of renewable energy around the world. You will be able to design and build a turbine that spins rapidly when it comes in contact with a forceful stream of water – generating your very own source of renewable energy through hydropower. Jenny Mueller Price, Ph.D., P.E. Environmental Engineer, RHIT


Have you ever thought that you might like to become a dentist? In this workshop you will learn about oral hygiene, disease process and restorative treatments for cavities. You will make an impression of a dental model and do your own restoration on a plastic tooth.
 Amanda Clemons, Student Dentist, Indiana University School of Dentistry


Come talk to the girls of local FIRST Robotics team Area
5188 - Classified Robotics. They will show you the fun and interesting world of robotics and engineering. You might even be able to drive their 6 foot robot!
 Danielle Gehron, President of Rose-Hulman Mentoring Club, Liah Tressmer, Daisy Bell, Maddison Robertson and
 Stella Cheesman RHIT assistants


You will be able to build structures out of foam, cardboard and other materials with the goal of getting a marble through the course and into a cup at the end. You will learn about potential and kinetic energy. Kristin McClinton, Junior CET/IT, Females in Technology (Indiana State University)


Are you interested in learning about the beautiful yet mysterious creatures of the Amazon Rain Forest? You will learn how plants and animals in the Amazon Rain Forest survive with the help of defense adaptations, camouflage and mimicry. You will then get a chance to design and create your own plant or animal that “blends in” with its habitat. Melissa Jordan, Science Teacher, Sarah Scott Middle School

The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located in Hulman Hall on the campus of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. There is a $20.00 registration fee (includes lunch and a t-shirt). If a student and a parent wish to register, the cost is $20 per person and two separate registrations must be submitted. Registration deadline is October 23, 2015. For more information or to register, visit