Opening Doors to the STEM Workplace: More Seats at a Longer Table
WCU to Host Virtual STEM Conference with Blank Rome, GSK, & West Pharmaceutical Services
Working professionals in STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are in critical demand, as the number of STEM jobs in the U.S. is projected to grow by 8.9% through 2024. With increased job availability, the STEM workplace is looked upon to establish a more welcoming environment for all, including women, people of color, and other groups typically underrepresented in STEM fields. On Wednesday, April 7, through Thursday, April 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m., West Chester University will bring distinguished leaders together for an open discussion about ways to invite early-career professionals and university students to an expansive STEM table that offers career advancement, ways to reach one’s potential, mentors, opportunities to network with STEM experts and peers, and more. Admission is $20 for the general public and free for university/college students. For the conference schedule and to register by the deadline of Tuesday, April 6, see https://wcupa.edu/STEM.
Founder of Black Girls Code Kimberly Bryant and U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan will open the conference on Wednesday, beginning at 9 a.m. Bryant, who has spent more than 25 years as an engineering manager in technical leadership roles for such companies as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer, will discuss “Time to Come Out of the Box.” During her address, Bryant will share the lessons she learned while shaping a new paradigm for women and girls of color in technology. Following Bryant, U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, who is an engineer, entrepreneur, and former United States Air Force officer currently serving Pennsylvania’s 6th District in Congress, will address “STEM Diversity & Service to Society.”
“STEM workplaces and STEM careers are for everyone,” says Dean of the College of the Sciences and Mathematics Radha Pyati. “All of us who work in STEM fields and have committed ourselves to the advancement of STEM, owe it to early-career STEM professionals to map out a clear path for their success and to ensure that we are here to support them all the way. In order for this to truly happen, we must address issues faced by women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in the field. Having more seats at a longer table puts the onus on us to make sure that all who are invited feel welcomed to stay and enjoy every course.”
Session topics to be explored during the two-day virtual conference include How Leaders Create a Diverse and Inclusive STEM Workplace: Tangible, Transformational Change; Alternate Pathways in STEM Careers; Entering the STEM Workforce; Working in Teams in the STEM Workplace; Addressing Bias in the STEM Workplace; Finding a Mentor; Mentoring an “Only” When You’re Not an Only; and more.
A first-of-its-kind for the University, the STEM conference is hosted by WCU’s College of the Sciences and Mathematics together with its partners, presenters, and sponsors Blank Rome, GSK, and West Pharmaceutical Services.