On November 1, Grand Rapids Community College hosted 100 sixth- to eighth-grade girls from all over Michigan to participate in an experiential Science+ Technology + Engineering + Math (STEM) Girl Genius Conference.
The daylong conference was designed to encourage young women to seek careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Dean Laurie Chesley began the event by welcoming the participants to Grand Rapids Community College and introducing Dr. Veronica Moorman, of Kettering University, who gave the opening address: “Enzymes: How Chemistry Runs at the Speed of Life.” Throughout the day, participants carried out hands-on engineering and science activities, which were led by GRCC Biology Professor Leigh Kleinert. The participants also had lunch with women who are engineering and science professionals at companies such as GE Aviation, Gentex Corporation and the Van Andel Institute.
Anesa Behrem, Amy Kudrna and Laurie Foster from GRCC also participated in the luncheon. Kate Kryger, Jan Colvin, Janis Qualls, Dan Groh, Leigh Kleinert, Laurie Foster, Amy Kudrna, Amy Kirkbride, Kristina Pacelli, Leah Engemann, Pam Scott, and Jennifer Batten worked with the community partners to prepare for the event. Twenty GRCC Academic Service Learning students volunteered and helped the participants with the activities. The STEM Girl Genius Conference is in its fourth year and is a collaborative effort between Fifth Third Bank, Kettering University, the Catholic Secondary School Foundation, and Grand Rapids Community College.