USFSM will host a STEM-related conference for girls.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM to host tech-savvy girls event

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: June 03, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 3, 2016)USF Sarasota-Manatee will host a “tech-savvy” conference for teenage girls on Saturday, June 4.

“Be a Tech Savvy Girl!” is set from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The event is open to girls from sixth through eighth grades from Sarasota and Manatee counties. Parents are welcome too. Admission is $5.

Dozens of professional women in business-, education- and science-related fields will lead workshops related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The conference is sponsored by the Sarasota and Manatee school districts and the American Association of University Women, Bradenton Branch.

“Women are under-represented in engineering and science-related fields,” said Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness at USFSM. “It’s important for girls in this age group to think about science and math. Then by the time they enter high school they can focus on those courses to prepare them for college.”

Dr. Jones has been asked to welcome the girls to the conference. Dr. Joy D’Andrea, a math instructor at USFSM, will lead one of the workshops, “Marshmallows, Toothpicks and Polyhedra.” Several USF and USFSM students will be involved as well.

Among the sessions will be workshops focused on robotics, computer coding, cyber security, aerospace engineering, CSI crime scene processing, coral reefs, stock markets, water systems and orange juice production.

Major Connie Shingledecker, investigative bureau chief for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, will be the keynote speaker.

“We’re hoping that these girls come away with a greater awareness about STEM-related fields,” said Martha Jane Proulx, program specialist at the Sarasota County School Board. “We want to let them know that they’re not alone, that these girls can look around say, ‘Look at all these women in STEM-related careers.’”

Separate sessions for parents will delve into the variety of STEM-related career options and how parents can encourage girls to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and math.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information, visit

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