2018 Girls Count STEM Conference Inspires Students and Parents Alike

The 21st Annual Greater Naples Charitable Foundation Girls Count STEM Conference, hosted Saturday, February 10, 2018, at Barron Collier High School, was enthusiastically complimented by both the attending fifth grade girls as well as their parents and teachers.  Ninety-two of the 113 registered girls attended the conference along with 88 parents, and six registered teachers.
Forty of the attending adults completing the feedback form found the student panel “inspiring, well-spoken, and honest, and complimented their presence at the conference as positive role models for their daughters. The girls liked how the high school students shared information about their lives outside of school and commented frequently about their message of reaching for dreams and not letting anyone discourage for belittle those dreams.
Parents welcomed the information shared by the teachers panel, although some comments felt several teachers focused more on sharing information about themselves instead of addressing the questions being asked.
Parents found Michelle Joyce, Dr. Robert Corbin, and the keynote speakers Annisa Karim to be not only inspirational, but informative, entertaining, upbeat, and motivational. They loved the stories, found Michelle Joyce’s message of finding success no matter your background, and a number of parents found Annisa Karim to to charismatic and a wonderful speaker who was able to connect with the girls in a very direct and inspirational way.
“Fantastic” was a common adjective used to describe Dr. Corbin, and thirty-two people signed up to receive a copy of his power point presentation.
Parents felt inspired to encourage their daughters into STEM careers and connected with the message given by all the speakers that the development of the child is dependent on how much parental involvement is provided.  Moreover, parents appreciated the message they heard directed to their daughters that it is okay to be different and to never be afraid to try something new.
The girls comments about the workshop presenters was enthusiastic as well – “Loved it!…Fun!,,,Best experience of my life!”  Some girls wanted to attend more than three workshops. They complimented all 12 of the workshops in enthusiastic terms.  The group leaders complimented on the varied hands-on activities provided by the workshop presenters and how effectively they engaged the girls.
I want to especially thank the five FGCU Eagles Educate volunteers – Tori Tolon, Amanda Sanchez, Pride Prause, Alyssa Kruse, and Brianna White who stepped in not only to run the registration table but also took over as two of the group leaders who became ill (flu) as well as a hostess for auditorium speakers. Thank you Dr. Penny Finley for helping to bring these fantastic future teachers to our conference!!!
Also, thank you Laura Candris, for not only stepping in as a hostess for a speaker but also taking over as a group leader. I want to thank the over 39 AAUW volunteers who worked the conference Saturday and the 12 others who showed up Friday evening to help set up for  the conference. Ardel Nelson not only made sure that all the classrooms were well marked with lovely signs for the presenters but assisted Mary Schoenheider in reassigning three of the groups when Dr. Jody Alexander fell victim to the flu early Saturday morning. Of course, Jackie Pierce was outstanding as our Emcee making our conference not only cohesive in how she made both both panels feel comfortable on the stage but in her management of the presentation of the program.  She truly made the parents feel inspired and attentive.

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