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Hermanas provides girls STEM inspiration

Engineer. Cardiologist. Veterinarian.

These are just some of the future job aspirations of Higley Unified School District middle school females attending a day-long event designed to inspire them to make big goals a reality.

“Hermanas (Sisters): Diseña Tu Futuro (Design Your Future)” was created to “increase the number of under-represented females in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields,” according to the website. During the day, students explored careers, participated in hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities and heard “encouragement to finish school, attend college, and to pursue their goals.” Intel Corp. partnered to organize the event, which was held this month at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

“I want to be a forensic criminologist!” said Cooley eighth-grade student Alicia Gamboa, after coming out of one of the Latina Town Hall meetings where students met with local Latina leaders in the STEM field. “I thought I wanted to do sports medicine, but criminology sounds really interesting too.”
Sossaman seventh-grade student Audrey Gonzales said the event confirmed her future hopes.

"This was such a great experience for me. I loved learning about what it takes to become an engineer, such as the classes I need to take. Also, I loved the astronomy class,” she said.

Workshops included physics, engineering, astronomy, computers, and hands-on activities like “pop bottle” cars.

"My favorite part of the day was that we got to code little robots,” said Sossaman student Olivia Grano, an eighth grader.

School counselors Shannon Alexander and Tonya Savalis travelled with the students.

“It was great seeing our students engaged in discussions about science and technology with professionals in the field. Students got to participate in many different activities from learning about the universe, to using physics to create solid structures with straw and paper, to building pop bottle cars and using chemistry to make them run,” Alexander said.

“I had a lot of fun popping in from workshop to workshop and watching our students enjoy the interactive activities,” Savalis said. “Our students were so excited, engaged and true leaders. The workshops that the students attended were hands-on and encouraged active participation and teamwork. I also loved that our students had the opportunity to speak with other Hermanas graduates who are now in the workforce. They shared their educational and professional journey with our students. They also shared what they did in high school to prepare for college success. It was such a great opportunity!”