Photos from the
2009 event
You Can Be Anything

An Exploration of Careers in Science and Technology for Middle School Girls

Keynote speaker Gemma Baro-Montes, who is an Environmental Engineer with Tighe & Bond, addressed a group that included Middle School girls, their parents, High School students, and faculty.At the 4th annual "You Can Be Anything" event over 100 people learned from Gemma how the Engineers Without Borders organization helps people all over the world obtain basic services like clean drinking water, shelter and electricity.Studying Science and Technology in school will prepare girls for careers where work is done to solve critical global problems such as clean water, clean energy, climate change and food resources. Information about Engineers Without Borders can be found here.

Horticulture instructor Mr. Nate Sperry talks with middle school girls about the link between honeybees, the environment and world food production. "If you like chocolate, thank a honeybee because they are the only pollinators of the cocoa plant, but the honeybee is disappearing." More information on honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder can be found here.

Biotechnology careers are in demand in fields like medicine, agriculture, bioengineering and bioremediation. Here students extract and collect DNA from wheat. More information about the uses for biotechnology can be found here.

Parents of 7th and 8th grade girls participated in four workshops: "Guiding your daughter through the teenage years" lead by Ms. Stacy Page, Prevention Counselor for Westfield Middle Schools; "Myths and Misconceptions of Working Women" led by Ms. Milli Cintron, Math teacher at Westfield Vocational Technical High; "Career Resources on the Web" presented by Ms. Nicki Shipman, School-to-Career Specialist and Ms. Sheila Burke, WVTHS Guidance Counselor; and "Educational and Career Pathways" with Ms. Kit Milligan, Director of Guidance for Westfield Public Schools. Parents received valuable information to help support their daughter's career goals. Information about career planning for students and parents can be found here.

In the Manufacturing Technology workshop girls learn how a product goes from concept to creation. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software is used to create a blueprint of the item. Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software turns the blueprint into machine readable code. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools use this code to cut stock metal into the finished part. Precision Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM's) are used to determine the quality of the manufactured part. The skill level needed by operators of this type of equipment approach that of a computer programmer and engineer. A shortage of employees in this field has created a demand for talent to fill high-paying positions. More information about these careers can be found here.

Forensics and Physics are two career fields rooted in science. Forensics is the application of science to answer questions of interest to the legal system. Popularized by TV shows like CSI, forensics dates back to circa 250BC when Archimedes determined that a crown was not pure gold. Today's forensic scientist may be skilled in a variety of fields including chemistry, anthropology, archaeology, entomology, geology, pathology, psychology, toxicology and law. Physics is the application of science to answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the universe. Cutting-edge fields dealing with condensed matter, high energy particles, and astrophysics are providing new technologies such as superconductivity, aero-gels, and quantum computers, along with providing answers about the nature of the universe.

The auto industry has changed in recent years. Car technology has made tremendous advances and the old stereotype of the "grease monkey" no longer applies. According to road and travel "Brains are in. Brawn is out." More and more women are finding rewarding careers in the auto industry fields of design, engineering, technology, marketing, sales and mechanics.

Women who enjoy working with their hands, building useful things and/or working outdoors may be will suited to a career in the construction industry. This diverse field includes carpenters, drafters, architects, engineers, and many more. Resources for these jobs can be found here.