Written by Akanksha Chudgar, and Camila Castaneda, SCWIST Communications and Events Coordinator. Edited by Ashley van der Pouw Kraan, SCWIST Communications and Events Coordinator.
On Mar 10, 2022, SCWIST’s Youth Engagement department hosted a Quantum Leaps Conference, an event designed to inspire students to consider STEM careers – including the exciting, uncommon ones that they may not have heard of before.
Pre-COVID, Quantum Leaps conferences would take place in person, but as schools went virtual, the Youth Engagement department adapted to an online format along with them. This adjustment has allowed the team to continue to introduce high school girls to explore careers in STEM during the global pandemic.
This was the first event of the year for their technology-focused conference series.
An introduction to women’s careers in diverse STEM fields
The Quantum Leaps Conference began with an introduction to careers in diverse STEM fields by the event’s mentors — women who volunteered to speak about their professions, and how they chose their careers. Many wonderful women sign up as mentors to share their work experience and expertise.
“I wanted to learn from the experiences of all speakers,” said Charlotte, a high school student after the event.
The process of finding a good fit for a career
The attendees learned how mentors found their careers, and that finding the right career isn’t always a straight path. Many of the mentors spoke about how they didn’t always know exactly what they wanted to do for their careers, but by exploring their options and eliminating those that weren’t the right fit, they found what work they enjoyed the most. This was reassuring for the high school girls.
“I enjoyed learning about different career paths,” said a student attendee after the event.
How tech and environment fields sometimes blend
The focus of this Quantum Leaps Conference was on technology and environment fields, as well as where these two merge. One of the mentors had many years of experience in the video games industry. Another mentor worked with water resource management. The other mentors had careers in constructing green buildings and in data analysis.
The high school girls that attended the event enjoyed the fact that the speakers were from different career backgrounds and had various perspectives to share.
Each of the mentors were also able to interact with the girls and answer their questions, creating a more personal and relatable experience.
“I liked the connection between environment and tech and thought it was unique,” said Priesha, another one of the students.
Mentoring and youth engagement offered by SCWIST
During their Quantum Leaps events, the Youth Engagement team strives to bring in mentors from various career backgrounds so that girls learn about careers that they had never heard of before and might be interested in.
The upcoming event in this Quantum Leaps Series is focused on Diversity in Engineering and Science. Register for it today.