The American Association of University Women, a leading voice in promoting equity in education for women and girls, is concerned about the lack of women in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and looks for ways to encourage girls to pursue careers in these fields.
The AAUW is working to dispel preconceived ideas and stereotypes that might currently impact a young woman's journey toward a successful STEM career by:
• Creating a lesson plan contest in which educators are encouraged to participate.
• Providing role models to share their experiences with local girls.
• Partnering with local chapters of groups like the Girl Scouts of America, the Association for Women in Science, Girls Excelling in Math and Science, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Girls Inc.
The AAUW also awards local eighth-grade students for excellent work in science and math classes, based on nominations by their teachers.
Six young women recently selected include Konner Ross and Fei Zheng from Largo Middle School; Julia Withrow and Caitlin Lynch from Safety Harbor Middle; and Shaila Ghanekar and Stephanie Massie from Dunedin Middle.
Konnor Ross, who maintains an A average in her honors science class, represented Pinellas County at the state Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland after her project placed first at the regional level. The National Junior Honor Society member plays volleyball and loves photography.
Three and a half years ago, Fei Zheng arrived in this country from China. She continues to work on mastering the English language and finds it challenging. She plays violin in the school orchestra and maintains an A average in her honors algebra class. Because she enjoys working with numbers, she hopes to become an accountant.
Julia Withrow is involved with the National Junior Honor Society, serves as president of the Spanish Club and is a member of the school's track team. She will attend the International Baccalaureate program at Palm Harbor University High next year. Future plans are to attend the University of Florida, get a master's degree in education and become a college professor.
When she's not indulging in her hobbies of tumbling, practicing kung fu or playing video games, Caitlin Lynch has her sights set on becoming a CIA analyst. She was nominated for her high science average, consistent work quality and positive attitude in class.
Shaila Ghanekar attends Dunedin Middle School's Center for Gifted Studies. She excels in all subjects but especially shines in mathematics and has been a participant on the Dunedin math team for two years. While in sixth grade, Shaila and her team won first place at the Mighty Mu Math competition and she won 10th place overall.
Stephanie Massie is also a student at Dunedin Middle School's Center for Gifted Studies. She participates in many school activities, including Spanish Club, Math Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Scottish dance. In her free time, she volunteers at the YMCA.
A check for $100 and a plaque will be awarded to the girls at the end of the school year. The AAUW hopes that by the acknowledging the hard work of these young women, they will consider occupations in STEM fields as viable career choices.
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Clearwater Chapter SAR inducts new members
At the March meeting of the Clearwater Chapter Sons of the American Revolution, chapter president Jim Gibson formally inducted John Myers, Bruce Coil, Gary Coil and James Coil as new members. Gibson also presented Peter Waldron with a military service medal and certificate.
The Clearwater chapter serves the area from mid Pinellas northward, including Pasco County. Activities include a variety of programs to promote the patriotic, educational and historic interests resulting from the American Revolution. The organization meets monthly for a noon luncheon and program.
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Safety Harbor Kiwanis names Student of the Month
Safety Harbor Elementary student Carli Taymans was named March Student of the Month by the Safety Harbor Kiwanis.
She was chosen by her teacher, Emily Chase, who said the fifth-grader demonstrates strength in academics as well as competitive swimming and gymnastics. She is willing to take on any challenge regardless of the task and is truly a model student, the teacher said.
Rob and Jill Taymans were complimented on providing their daughter with an atmosphere conducive to learning and success.
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