Area sixth-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 to provide participants with fun ways to learn practical information. The conference will be free to qualifying students, who will receive snacks and lunch, 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 sixth graders to carefully consider future courses and careers before high school as they become more familiar with science- and math-based professions.
Over 100 sixth-grade girls from six different schools attended the GLAMS conference this year at SouthArk, with more than 15 session speakers ranging from a veterinarian to an environmental engineer to a Dreamworks animator.
Written feedback received from the participants indicated that the project's aim did indeed find its mark. Among many other favorable reviews, students wrote:
- "I think GLAMS is so fun, and it really has showed me how empowering women can be."
- "What I learned was to never give up."
- "I like the inclusion that the program had."
- "The challenge taught me to fail, and to try harder to succeed."
- "I like that we were with different people. It made me less shy."
- "I want to prove to guys at my school that I can do stuff just like they can!"
GLAMS is a joint venture of the El Dorado Education Foundation and SouthArk, with financial and volunteer support from area businesses, organizations, and individuals.