It has been quite the weekend. It’s hard to believe that myself, Mrs. Scheffer, Mira, Kelsey and Kristin accomplished so much in less than 48 hours.
For those that were unaware, the four female members of the Help Desk at Burlington High School and our female teacher Jenn Scheffer drove down to the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia to present at the national education conference known as Educon. Our presentation was titled Closing the Gender Gap in Innovation: Engaging Girls in STEM and we discussed with a fairly large crowd both our research regarding the gender gap and STEM education as well as our personal experiences as female students participating in STEM classes. We were the first presentation on Saturday morning and I can honestly say I feel as though we set the bar high for the sessions following after us in the conference.
Unfortunately, our session was not one of the few that were live streamed but the slides from our presentation can be viewed here. One of the coolest things about our presentation was how engaged our audience was. We actually didn’t even get through the entirety of our presentation because everyone was so engaged and kept asking questions and introducing new topics for discussion. Our slideshow was shared with all of the attendees and I find it awesome that even as I log onto it at 10:30 pm to link it to my blog post there are three people scrolling through the slides. It really goes to show that there was genuine substance behind our presentation, so much so that even days later people are returning to our slides to relive it. It’s also very cool to me the amount of people who shared images and comments of our slides to their social media sites. I’ll share a few below but if they spark your interest, I’ve retweeted all of them on my twitter account @cathoyt_.
We even went to get pizza after our presentation and there was a group of Educon attendees sitting at a table discussing presentations and one of them said “Hey those are the girls I was just talking about” when we walked in. We truly felt like rockstars.
We also got the very cool experience to participate in a podcast with Joe Mazza
(@Joe_Mazza) from PennGSE to talk about our experience as members of Help Desk as well as our experience speaking at a national conference. The podcast is also directed towards administrators, so we got the chance to share our opinions on the requirements of people in leadership positions interested in implementing a program similar to ours. If you weren’t already intrigued, there is some bad singing involved in the podcast which may be worth checking out. You can listen to all of it here. To the right is one of many selfies taken in the recording studio.
All in all, it has been an incredible weekend and I couldn’t be more grateful to have gotten the chance to participate and share alongside such innovative minds. As a student, I can confidently ascertain that it’s experiences like these that we remember forever because there is no better feeling than when you are truly making a difference and inspiring others by way of action.
P.S. Voting for the Follett Challenge closes at midnight on January 30th!! Remember to vote every day via email or Facebook by following this link: http://www.follettchallenge.com/video.cfm?id=545
’till next time Philly, it’s been real.