EL DORADO—South Arkansas eighth-grade girls will have an opportunity to take part in the GLAMS: Girls Learning About Math and Science conference on May 15 at South Arkansas Community College.
GLAMS' hands-on workshops and breakout sessions in science, technology, engineering and math fields are designed provide participants with fun ways to learn practical information. The conference will be free to qualifying students, who also will receive a light breakfast, snacks and lunch, as well as T-shirts and other take-home items.
The intent of the program is to "introduce female students to successful area women working in math, science and technology-related fields; and to provide these girls with real-life examples of achievement in such careers," according to project co-chair Alice Mahony, who is a member of the Arkansas Department of Education Board.
While women make up 47 percent of America's workforce, just 26 percent of scientists and engineers are female, Mahony said. The hope is that GLAMS will inspire eighth graders to carefully consider future courses and careers before high school as they become more familiar with science- and math-based professions.
Nearly 200 eighth-grade girls from 11 different schools attended the third GLAMS conference last year at SouthArk, which had 20 session speakers ranging from a geologist to an environmental scientist to a wildlife biologist. Written feedback received from the participants indicated that the project's aim did indeed find its mark. Among many other favorable reviews, students wrote:
•"It was good in using teamwork with people who you may not know."
•"I got to see all parts of science—learning what different jobs are available."
•"It was an excellent learning experience and tons of fun."
GLAMS is a joint venture of the El Dorado Education Foundation and SouthArk, with financial and volunteer support from area businesses, organizations and individuals.