STEM conference for middle and high school girls

May 28, 2015

girlSTEM presenters during chemistry magic show

Courtesy: United Way of Bucks County. #girlSTEM volunteer presenters Sheela Venkitachalam and Neha Bhardwaj show girls "Chemistry Magic."

Hundreds of middle and high school girls visited Delaware Valley University May 21 for the fourth annual #girlSTEM conference, a daylong event aimed at inspiring girls to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The conference is led and coordinated by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22, sponsored by the Bucks County Women’s Initiative and hosted by DelVal. The conference gives students a chance to engage with and learn from professional women working in STEM-related jobs. To meet overwhelming demand from girls who wanted to participate, the conference organizers doubled the amount of girls served this year from 350 to 700. For many of the girls, this is their first time on a university campus and the day opens their minds to career paths they may have never thought of pursuing.

“Engaging and dynamic professional women show young girls that it is possible for women to enter these fields by connecting them with role models,” said Dr. Lindsey Sides, coordinator of teaching, learning and nonpublic services at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 and coordinator of #girlSTEM.

Thank you to the DelVal students, faculty and alumni who volunteered as presenters. DelVal presenters included:

  • Dr. Cynthia Keler ’84, a DelVal associate professor of biology, taught girls about the characteristics of a living organism and had them debate whether viruses are alive in, “Are viruses living?”
  • Suzanne Hanbicki ’04 taught girls about basic electronic circuits and then had them upload a program that made the 8x8 light matrix light up with a smiley face in “Arduino Smiley Faces.”
  • DelVal lecturer Dr. Sheela Venkitachalam and DelVal student Neha Bhardwaj, showed girls how fun chemistry can be with demonstrations in “Chemistry Magic Show.”
  • DelVal animal biotechnology and conservation lecturers Dr. Alicia Shenko and Maggie Liguori taught girls about ways to be involved in research, care and conservation of both native and exotic animals in “Exploring Careers in Wildlife."
  •  In  “So you want to work with animals? An Intro to Pet First Aid and CPR,” DelVal animal biotechnology and conservation lecturer April Laskow ’07, ’11 taught girls about career options in veterinary medicine and gave them a chance to try some hands-on pet first aid techniques on dog and cat mannequins.
  • DelVal assistant professor of mathematics Dr. Ruth Trubnik presented, “Using and understanding mathematics,” which looked at how girls will be able to apply mathematical topics and reasoning skills in college, their careers and their lives
  • In “Wet and Wild,” Emily Granger ’13 talked with girls about what a naturalist does and then let them take part in a mock lesson about water.

girlSTEM participants

Credit: United Way of Bucks County. Girls from Quakertown Community School District show that they are powerful women

The 2015 #girlSTEM Conference was made possible by the following sponsors: PECO (Presenting Sponsor), Dow (Gold Sponsor), Comcast and Parx Casino (Silver Sponsors), Huntingdon Valley Bank and National Penn Bank (Bronze Sponsors).

To learn more about #girlSTEM, please visit:

Did you know DelVal was recognized for excellence in STEM education? Learn more about the University's commitment to preparing students for high paying, high demand STEM careers.