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Girls get hands-on EMS experience at Pa. STEM event

Hundreds of young girls met with women in over 65 STEM-based organizations in Montgomery County


Good Fellowship Ambulance & EMS Training Institute/Facebook

By Donna Rovins
The Mercury

UPPER PROVIDENCE, Pa. — Hundreds of girls from across the region recently had an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities and careers, during the 23rd annual Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) event.

Hosted by the Chester County Economic Development Council via its Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) initiative, the one-day event Oct. 28 attracted more than 1,000 girls, parents, educators, volunteers and employers from more than 43 school districts from eight counties in Pennsylvania, as well as girls from New Jersey, Delaware and New York.

Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology gave attendees a chance to have some hands-on experience exploring more than 100 interactive STEM activities.

The GETT event provides an opportunity for girls in fifth through tenth grades to participate in the STEM activities, encouraging them to discover new ways to connect their passions for science, technology, engineering and math and learn about STEM career opportunities, according to a press release.

This year’s gathering, held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Upper Providence, Montgomery County, was led by women from more than 65 of the region’s STEM-based companies and organizations.

“Our STEM Innovation Youth programs aim to provide students with opportunities to explore career prospects in all of our core industry sectors. These programs contribute to the development and reinforcement of a knowledgeable and skilled workforce within our communities,” Patti VanCleave, vice president of workforce development at Chester County Economic Development Council, said in a statement, adding that the Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology event “stands as a shining example” of that endeavor.

“It not only showcases the vast array of STEM-based careers available today but also empowers young girls, instilling the belief that they can pursue any career path within the realm of STEM.”

Among the activities offered during the Oct. 28 gathering were: architectural design, robotics, bio-engineering, chemistry, coding, aviation, healthcare, aquatic animal sciences, engineering, video gaming, virtual reality, environmental science, aerospace, information technology, veterinary sciences, forensic sciences, agriculture science and manufacturing.

New this year were exhibit buses from the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Mobile Ag Immersion Lab, Commonwealth Charter Academy’s Mobile Aquaponics Lab and the state attorney general’s Mobile Forensics Lab. Attendees were able to explore the ambulance from Good Fellowship Ambulance Company and PECO bucket truck and were able to “fly” Stubby the helicopter from the American Helicopter Museum. The Da Vinci Science Center and The Candy Lab led scientific experiments.

Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology, or GETT, was started in 2001 in Chester County in response to the underrepresentation of young women in computer and information technology fields. Since then, the event has expanded to include more students. It has also expanded in terms of what it showcases — to include the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“ITAG has faced a notable challenge in the form of limited diversity, equity and inclusion within the tech industry workforce. GETT plays a pivotal role in tackling this issue by sparking girls’ passion for STEM and nurturing the next generation of tech leaders, while also highlighting the organizations in southeastern PA that offer abundant STEM opportunities,” Marianne Stack, ITAG’s project director, said in a statement.

Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce but only 28% of the science and engineering workforce, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project. Female scientists and engineers are concentrated in different occupations than men, with relatively low shares in engineering (15%) and computer and mathematical sciences (26%).

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