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Young Ladies Explore STEM Careers at We Are It!

December 12, 2017

Kirstie Zontini

Kirstie Zontini Meteorologist for WHIO TV addresses a crowd of nearly 250 young women during the twelfth annual We Are IT! Event. 

Nearly 250 students ranging from sixth to twelfth grade engaged in a day of learning and fun at Edison State Community College on Friday, December 8th, for the twelfth annual “We Are IT!” event. The daylong program is designed to help boost interest of young women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.  

Kirstie Zontini, Morning Meteorologist from WHIO TV provided a keynote address in which she spoke about the importance of persevering as a female in a STEM career.  

“So remember that statistic, that only 29% of us [meteorologists] are women, well it is kind of rare that I get to work with another female meteorologist,” said Zontini.  

“It is great to see the support of another woman in my profession and kind of girl power it out and say ‘hey, we all did this, we went through college, got our schooling and now we all get to be together doing our job.’”  

Zontini went on to explain her path in life, stating that she liked writing as well as science and math and that’s why she ended up in the career she did.  

“As you enter high school and beyond, you may already have those gears turning about where you want your profession to lead you,” said Zontini. “Don’t be afraid to keep taking the advanced classes and don’t let them intimidate you. It might be hard but everyone wants to see you ladies succeed so keep going with that.”  

Sweet Treat

A group of young ladies from Miami East enjoy ice cream they made from corn.

Each of the girls chose three breakout sessions to attend throughout the day with  topics ranging from medical laboratory diagnostics and information technology to chemistry and engineering.  

Many of the day’s sessions focused on topics that are relevant in the girls’ daily lives. “From Corn to Ice Cream: Agriculture is More Than Farming,” followed a kernel of corn from the time it is planted into soil to the time it becomes edible as ice cream. Edison State agriculture students demonstrated the science behind creating the sweet treat.  

Several breakout sessions also gave students a glimpse into what they could do for a living, including a session led by employees of Midmark entitled, “Can Your House Withstand the Winter Wonderland?” In this session, students were challenged to construct a house of candy and sweets that would withstand unforgiving winter weather, which demonstrated the value in engineering and constructing a sound home.  

A total of twenty-two breakout sessions were offered throughout the day, which focused on various aspects of STEM. Representatives from Addecco General Staffing, Care Source, Edison State Community College, Emerson, FRAM, Hartzell Propeller, Inc., Marias Technology, Midmark, OSU–Miami County Extension Office, New Tech Plastics, Premier Health Learning Institute, and SEW-Euro Drive provided their expertise for the day’s hands-on sessions.  

To wrap up the day, students were encouraged to participate in a video contest. The theme of the contest asked students to describe how they best embodied the characteristics of the event’s mascot, “Mitse” (Math, Information Technology, Science, Engineering). A total of 25 students entered the video contest with the first place winner receiving a laptop with accessories.