At the 26th Annual Expanding Your Horizons conference, girls from grades 6-12 are encouraged not only to pursue higher education, but also to become interested in non-traditional careers for women.
Before 1848, women were not allowed to attend colleges and universities. By the end of the Civil War in 1865, women began pursuing higher education. However, by 1870, only 0.7 percent of the female population attended college.
Things have obviously changed significantly since the 19th century. As of 2009, 29.9 million women in the United States had received their Bachelor’s degree or higher. This accounts for 30 percent of the female population. On average, 55 percent of college students in the United States are women. Currently, there are 14,186 women enrolled at UVU, accounting for 43 percent of the student population.
However, many feel that young girls still need encouragement not only when it comes to pursuing higher education, but what types of career options are available to them. This is why UVU is hosting the 26th Expanding Your Horizons conference.
Held every year by the Equity in Education Center and Turning Point at UVU, EYH is open to girls from grades 6-12. The focus of the conference is to give these girls a chance to explore educational and career opportunities in the fields of math, science and technology. These areas of study are emphasized because they are still dominated by men. More than 800 girls, parents and educators are planned on attending the conference.
Jennie Briggs, director of UVU’s Equity in Education Center, hopes that the conference will empower young women.
“In our society, there is tremendous pressure put on girls to conform to very narrow beauty standards,” Briggs said.
The “Expanding Your Horizons” conference encourages girls to fight these negative messages and inspires them to see themselves as a person who has tremendous potential to influence their family, community and world with their ideas, abilities and skills.”
The conference, which will be held Saturday, March 3 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will begin with a keynote address from Dr. Suzanne Walther, assistant professor and Fluvial Geomorphologist in the Earth Science Department here on campus. Walther will use her experience as an NCAA athlete, a Ph.D. graduate in Geography and Certified Athletic Coach to stress the importance of overcoming obstacles and taking advantage of educational opportunities.
“Being a woman in Science is still a challenge, but I want the girls to know they are not alone in these non-traditional careers. I want them to know how important it is for them to not limit themselves.” Walther said.
After her address, the girls are invited to attend three workshops that focus on different educational and career choices available to the girls. The topics range from mathematics, geology, forensics science, zoology and many more.
Women and educators are also encouraged to attend. There will be interactive booths from UVU departments, other local universities and community organizations offering additional information on how to help girls succeed in their educational, career and life pursuits.
Registration is $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. There are scholarships available for girls coming from low-income families to attend at little or no cost. The registration fee includes a morning snack, material, three workshops, lunch, t-shirt and interactive booths.
To register, visit www.spedregistration.com. If you are interested in volunteering at this conference, please call 801-863-8698.
For more on the Expanding Your Horizons conference visit www.uvu.edu/equitycenter/horizons
By Kelly Cannon & Melissa Lindsey
Life Editor & Staff Writer