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Women in STEM Exploration Day Opens Doors for Middle, High School Students

Event part of larger effort to inspire women to pursue science and technology careers.


Over 100 women, including students from middle and high schools, female STEM majors, faculty and professionals from Newport News Shipbuilding, attended Christopher Newport’s first Women in STEM Exploration Day.

The daylong event highlighted educational opportunities in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) and featured fun experiments and research projects presented by CNU students.

The event concluded a three-part series to inspire women to pursue careers in STEM. It was organized by the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering (PCSE) and generously sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding.

“We believe that higher participation rates of females in fields like computer science, information systems as well as in all areas of science and engineering will not only be necessary to meet the future workforce needs but will also lead to a more positive workplace environment in the high-tech sector,” says Dr. Anton Riedl, PCSE Department chair.

"I had the honor of taking part in the Women in STEM events throughout this year,” says Emily Carrancho, a senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in leadership studies. “Little did I know the amount of knowledge and confidence that would follow upon attending these events. At the Exploration Day event, I had the pleasure to share this enthusiasm with the students. I not only got the chance to make them feel more confident and excited about the STEM field, but I also got to see what my classmates and other STEM women were working on. Seeing the multitude of talent that exists in all of the STEM women here at CNU was amazing. It made me so proud to be a part of this community. This program exemplified my passion and excitement for this field and made me more confident in stepping into the world as a woman in STEM.”

“We really need to encourage people with unique perspectives and different ways of thinking to become the great minds in the STEM industry,” Jessica Gomez, director of engineering at Newport News Shipbuilding, says. “With the pace of change of technology and the challenges we face to solve complex problems in ship design and shipbuilding, it is going to take ever more diverse skill sets and experiences to meet the challenge. When universities such as Christopher Newport partner with industry, it can be powerful and make a difference for middle and high school students who may not be familiar with the opportunities that exist or how to navigate the possibilities.”


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