Three students working on a STEAM activity

The PWCS Energy Management and Sustainability Office, in collaboration with engineering partner, Schneider Electric, hosted a Girls in STEAM Empowerment Conference at Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, located at George Mason University’s Woodbridge Campus.

The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness and promote a variety of STEAM careers to female students in PWCS. Fifty-seven students from Fred Lynn, Graham Park, Potomac, Potomac Shores, and Rippon Middle Schools participated in this full-day event. The conference featured a panel and roundtable discussion led by women in assorted STEAM fields. Additionally, engaging hands-on activities were integrated across various STEAM disciplines, fostering critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and highlighting potential career opportunities for the students.

Panelist Elif Patton, a designer with Dominion Energy, said, “I hope they take away from this event that they could really do anything that they put their minds to. They have a long time to decide what's the right choice for them, and I hope that this gives them a little idea of what their future could hold for them.”

Ken Broach, regional vice president for Schneider Electric, was excited to be part of the event. He shared, “Schneider Electric is always on the lookout for the next generation of engineers as part of what we do. A lot of engineers working for us have interest in kids becoming engineers and helping them develop to lead the next generation of technical skills.”

The students had a wonderful day of learning and interacting with women working in various STEAM-related industries.

Kaitlin, a student at Potomac Middle, left the conference with a better understanding of her career opportunities. She remarked, “I'm finding it really interesting all the different careers there are in science, because I thought it was really basic and there were just like a few main categories. But I'm finding that there are a lot more in-depth categories to the science industry. I feel like it's been really helpful for me to figure out what I may want to do in the future.”

Watch this video to learn more about the conference!