In the spring of 1998, an idea to help young women learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers took form. Twenty years later, “Girls in the Middle” is still doing the same.
The annual conference is held at Otero Junior College in La Junta, CO and provides a hands-on experience for girls to learn more about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. At this year’s recent conference, Valley-Wide Health Systems was one of the sponsors of the event and several providers served as presenters of various sessions for participants.
“I focused my sessions on informing the girls on the different avenues dentistry could take them,” explained Dr. Samantha Smith. “We discussed the six main dental specialties, what they do, and how to get into those programs.”
For Dr. Charity Reynolds, it was her second year participating in the Girls in the Middle conference. Dr. Reynolds led a hands-on activity that taught suturing that the participants enjoyed.
“I think it is a great event to promote STEM fields for girls,” said Dr. Reynolds, speaking about the overall conference experience. “They are always eager to learn and be inspired.”
Dr. Allison Peddle of Valley-Wide La Junta was also a participant in this year’s conference.
“I am proud of Dr. Peddle, Dr. Reynolds, and Dr. Smith, as well as our entire organization, for their continued support of this event,” said Valley-Wide Clinic Manager and GIM Co-Chair, Roberta Calkins-Mendoza. “The GIM conference is a great way for young women to become more informed about STEM career opportunities they may be interested in, while building confidence and self-esteem.”