GEMS Shine Light on Girls’ Interest in Engineering, Math and Science

March 8, 2012

WAUKESHA – With the help of local sponsors Generac, WaterStone Bank, American Family Insurance, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Continuing Education department, for the fourth year, will offer a one-day conference: GEMS—Girls, Engineering, Mathematics and Science. This conference is designed for girls in grades six, seven and eight.

The event takes place on Saturday, May 19, 2012, from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at the UW-Waukesha campus, located at 1500 N. University Drive, Waukesha. Enrollment is first come/first serve and workshops fill quickly so interested participates should register early. Registration forms can be found online at or call the UW-Waukesha Continuing Education at 262-521-5460 to register.

The $30 conference fee includes a keynote presentation, four workshops, lunch, goodie bag, and a chance to win special gifts.

“This event aims to provide hands-on activities and learning sessions that encourage young girls excited about succeeding in engineering, math and science,” said Susan Adams, director of continuing education at UW-Waukesha. Adams, who began the GEMS program on the Waukesha campus in 2009 wanted to create opportunities for young girls and women to connect with one another, “Girls will have a chance to participate in fun activities, as well as hear from women who have pursued successful careers in various fields and parents can attend sessions designed specifically for them as well.”

Last year’s GEMs participants Mai, age 12 of Pewaukee commented, “I enjoyed trying out a variety of classes to see what interested me most. I had a great time. The service and teachers were helpful and nice.” Kate, age 12 of Sussex shared that she liked the hands on activities and UW-Waukesha Continuing Education “…nailed this program, I don’t think you can improve!”

Girls can sign up for four sessions during the day, choosing from twenty exciting workshops with activities such as crime scene investigation, astronomy, creating your own snack and beverage through food science, environmental education and zoology, and learning about the human eye which includes the opportunity to dissect your own animal eye! There will also be learning sessions on topics such as Careers with Critters: Meet and Greet Furry Friends and Equine Veterinarians and much more.

Keynote speaker Jesse Ritka of TMJ4 will share her story of how she became a meteorologist and discuss increasing opportunities for women in engineering, math and science and encourage participants to learn more. Other speakers include: Harry Muir, (Dean of UW-Waukesha) and Dawn Tabat (Chief Operating Officer of Generac Power Systems, Waukesha).

In addition to information for the girls, the GEMS event also offers two free parents’ workshops in the morning, including: Cyber Bulling with Specialist Erin Christiansen, Waukesha Police Department and Keeping Confidence with Amy Walker, UW-Waukesha Personal Counselor.

The UW-Waukesha Office of Continuing Education (CE) strives to fulfill the needs of life-long learners, reaching audiences in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, and beyond. CE serves individual students of any age, as well as institutions and organizations. CE is often a niche for students who have not found a foothold in a traditional academic setting – teenage reluctant learners, adult learners, professionals seeking advanced training and senior citizens pursuing personal interests.

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