300 Siouxland Girls Learn What "STEM" Is All About

300 eighth grade girls from around Siouxland got a better glimpse into the word of science today... at the 24th Annual WINGS Conference at Briar Cliff.

Siouxland News Reporter Beairshelle Edmé tells us why industry leaders believe girls are the future of science.

In 2009, the science, technology, engineering and math fields, better known as STEM, was roughly 75 percent male and 25 percent female.

That's why nationally organizations started to take action, but here in Siouxland the Young Women Investigating Science & Mathematics (WINGS) Conference has been mentoring young girls for 24 years.

Organizers believe the event is a way to decrease the gender gap found throughout the STEM fields and also give young girls an opportunity to cultivate interest in the science fields.

That's where women across Siouxland come in from all fields from forensic science to medicine to engineering.

"We ask them to talk about their career and what they're doing, but also what it took for them to get there and what kind of schooling did they take, how does it affect their family life and just give them some real down to earth information of here's what it's like to work at a career field like this and what I had to do to get there," said
Michelle Clausen Rosendahl, a member of the WINGS planning committee.

For some moderators and presenters, their own paths were formed from programs like these.

They said it's never too early to stir interest.

"We're starting young: eighth grade; I'd even be interested in starting younger than that because you kind of get them thinking about what I need to take in middle school, in high school and college to get this kind of job," Kacie Varilek, an associate chemist at Gillette USA.

Many girls at the conference we're already breaking the mold, like 14 year old Alexa, who's interested in being a graphic designer or chiropractor and she's already learned a key to success.

"Women can do everything that guys can do. We're just as important; they just don't see them as high as them sometimes but we are," said Alexa Scheitieler.

The students also gained some pivtoal insight from keynote speaker Dr. Kathy LaFavor from Siouxland Women's Health Care in Sioux City.

If you have a story you want to tell or an incident you think needs to be investigated, our reporter Beairshelle Edmé wants to hear about OR