TAF Academy Girls Attend 2nd Annual Young Women in STEM Symposium
On Thursday May 8th we hosted the 2nd Annual Young Women in STEM Symposium with over 100 young women from TAF Academy, their teachers, TAF Staff and guest speakers at the Bethaday Community Learning Space. The young women started their day with a talk from TAF Co-Founder and Executive Director, Trish Millines Dziko. During her talk, Trish stressed the importance of dreaming big, and going for their dreams.
TAF Academy counselor Elaine McDonald remarked the event is a “chance for girls to be empowered with other girls, a time to ask questions without feeling embarrassed or apprehensive in front of their male classmates”
Presenters came from a variety of companies, including an Aerospace Engineer from Blue Origin a company working to develop technologies to enable human access to space, an Executive from Tacoma Public Utilities, Alaska Airlines, Federal Way Public Schools, and Miss America Organization.
Presenters echoed the mornings themes of dreaming big and reaching for the stars.The young ladies were treated to workshops ranging on topics from Dressing for Success, Working in a Male Dominated Field, and the Aerospace Industry.
The idea of the Young Women in STEM Symposium came from TAF Academy alum (class of 2013) Chelsea Balboa during her senior year. She knew she wanted her senior project to do something that would impact her school as well as her fellow female classmates. With the help of TAF Academy’s Office Manager Juli Ciotta, Chelsea set out to create the first Young Women in STEM Symposium. Chelsea worked to organize a day long symposium for 6-12th grade girls to spend time with local female leaders that are working in STEM.
When Trish asked what careers the young women were interested in, they responded “Forensic Anthropologist” “Disney Imagineer” “Game Designer” “Singer Songwriter” “Surgeon”.
During lunch, students had a chance to interact with one another after a morning session. Kiara, an 8th grader at TAF Academy said she learned, “to respect yourself and to not let boys boss you around, because the choices I make are mine”. Another student, who is still deciding what career path she’d like to take, said she was presented with “a lot of ideas for the future and what career to take”.
At TAF we help our students get to and through college. College and career readiness begins early—starting from elementary school where we create awareness, moving into middle school where we focus on the gateway to eligibility and on to high school where we focus on preparedness and college completion. As counselor Elaine McDonald explains, the Young Women’s Symposium is one what that “TAF Academy is encouraging these young women across grade levels, and believes in their ability to achieve”.