STEM 2014

On March 8th, American National University was buzzing with activity. 33 young girls ranging in age from 11 to 14 attended the third annual STEM conference hosted by the Roanoke Valley Branch of AAUW.


The girls were treated to six different sessions throughout the day with each girl attending three:

  • Karla Sharrer of Salem City Schools taught the girls about Newton’s Laws and had them build foam rockets.
  • Jonathan Arnold of Better Building Works shared the concepts of energy and how it relates to building dynamics.
  • Vianne Greek of Edward Jones led a discussion about money: spending (budgeting), saving, donating, and investing.
  • Christopher Fielder of American National University exposed the girls to the world of CyberSecurity in his class.

After a lunch of cheese pizzas and cookies the girls continued the day with a two-hour long session in forensic science and anthropology.

  • Dr. Diana Willeman-Buckelew of Jefferson College of Health Sciences set up a crime scene and taught the girls how to use forensic science techniques to solve the crime.
  • Drs. Cliff and Donna Boyd of Radford University led an interactive session with trays of bones and artifacts, teaching the girls about basic osteology and forensic anthropology.

Led by the talented Vicky Piper, a team of Cathy Wright, Lydia Celin, HelenRuth Burch, Thayer Walker, Judy Goodwin, Peggy Shifflett and Vianne Greek planned and coordinated the event. Several other branch members joined the committee to assist the speakers and supervise the sessions. Our thanks to them all.

AAUW values the importance of supporting girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as part of our mission to break through barriers for women and girls.