LACKAWAXEN TWP. - Recently, Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance and Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station hosted the 4th Annual Women in Science Symposium at Woodloch Resort’s The Heritage Nightclub. Forty-seven, eighth through twelfth grade, Wallenpaupack Area School District students attended the event.  

Career Coordinator Mrs. Colleen Edwards, who arranged for Wallenpaupack’s students to attend, explained that the symposium’s purpose is to highlight the experiences of distinguished female STEM leaders.  

The young adults had the opportunity to listen to professional presentations and converse with the presenters about careers, ideas and making connections.  The keynote speech was delivered by Deputy Secretary Sheri Collins, Office of Technology and Innovation, Department of Community and Economic Development, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The panelists included Computer Science and Engineering/ STEM Coordinator Marissa Barilka, Valley View School District; Information Science and Technology Coordinator at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Linda Helgerman; Watershed Specialist and STEM Education Leader, Colleen Campion from the Wayne County Conservation District.

Each presenter spoke about their respective roles, career pathways and experiences, work, and the career field outlooks. They encouraged the students to find what they are passionate about and determine how to become involved in related activities right now. Early involvement in field-related activities and events motivates and inspire youth to learn and acquire skills and develop specific interests.

Additionally, STEM professionals, vendors, Higher Education Partners and workforce agencies were in attendance; they provided networking opportunities, allowing students to ask questions, gather information and learn about local resources.  

Kara Campbell, junior, commented, “These influential professionals believe that it is important to promote STEM to young women. This is why they took the time to come to Woodloch and speak to us about the future and encourage us to work hard, challenge ourselves, and be true to who we are.”