Digital Divas conference at Eastern Michigan University seeks to bolster growth of female leaders in STEM careers

More than 500 middle and high school girls to attend conference on April 25

by Debra Johnson, Published April 22, 2014

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YPSILANTI – Today’s female leaders say more young girls need to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as viable and fulfilling options to pursue.

That’s exactly what this year's Digital Divas event at Eastern Michigan University hopes to encourage.

Over 500 middle and high school girls, representing over 13 schools districts including schools in Oakland, Jackson, Livingston, Kent, Warren and Washtenaw counties, will attend the one-day Digital Divas conference, to be held at the EMU Student Center. Check-in and selection of breakout sessions will begin at 8 a.m.

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2013 Digital Divas Conference

The Digital Divas event started on EMU’s campus in 2011. Now, four years later, the conference has blossomed into a full day of events, including numerous breakout sessions on topics such as “A Woman’s Place is in the Cockpit – Women and Airplanes,” “Digital Modeling and Rendering of Interior Space” and “Geospatial Exploration through Technology.”

A total of 17 breakout sessions will be offered at this year’s conference. Some of the other sessions include “True Tales of Digital Dangers,” “DIY: Computers” and “Fast, Fun Fashion, Very CAD.”

The main program, which includes a lunch with a keynote speaker, will start at 9:30 a.m. Elizabeth Howell, vice president, operations at ITC Holdings Corp will be the keynote speaker. Howell is responsible for the operation of the high-voltage electric transmission system of ITC’s operating subsidiaries, including more than 15,000 miles of interstate transmission lines in seven states.

“To alleviate the problem and eliminate the STEM gender gap, we must work to make science and technology fields more accessible to women,” said Bia Hamed, program manager, extended programs at Eastern. “The solution is to expose girls at earlier stages in their academic careers to all the STEM majors and careers, and Digital Divas advocates this by connecting educators, corporations, and nonprofits together to raise awareness and support young girls and women in STEM education.”

According to the United States White House website (www.whitehouse.gov), women who work in STEM fields earn on average 33 percent more than their counterparts in other fields, which is one of the many agendas President Obama and the First Lady are passionate about.

“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone,” said First Lady Michelle Obama in a statement on September 26, 2011. “We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”

The Digital Divas conference is hosted by extended programs and the College of Technology at Eastern Michigan. To learn more, please visit https://www.emich.edu/ia/digital_divas.html or contact Bia Hamed, program manager, extended programs at EMU at (734) 487-0882 or email at ihamed@emich.edu

Debra Johnson

djohn144@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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