Area eighth-grade girls have an opportunity to take part in the GLAMS: Girls Learning About Math and Science conference each spring 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 46 percent of America's workforce, only 22 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 eight different schools attended the GLAMS conference last year at SouthArk, which had more than 20 session speakers ranging from a veterinarian to a product researcher to an environmental engineer.
Written feedback received from the participants indicated that the project's aim did indeed find its mark. Among many other favorable reviews, students wrote:
- "What I liked the most was that I got to meet different people and work together like best friends."
- "All the breakout sessions were amazing and very informative."
- "Gives us a chance to show how we can succeed."
- "Awesome, would love to come again."
GLAMS is a joint venture of the El Dorado Education Foundation and SouthArk, with financial and volunteer support from area businesses, organizations and individuals.