Design Your Potential program held

JAMESTOWN – More than 60 girls from area high schools explored career opportunities in science, the technologies, engineering, and math at a recent event titled “Design Your Potential” on Jamestown Community College’s Jamestown Campus.

Sponsored by the College Access Challenge Grant, the program included workshops on a variety of topics including astronomy, architecture, computer science, geology, information technology, math, meteorology, physics, sustainability, and welding as well as a panel discussion featuring JCC students.

According to Ashley Kalish, College Access program coordinator, women are underrepresented in the workforce in all of the STEM disciplines.

“Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs,” she said. “This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce. Our goal is to help change those statistics by introducing young women to the diverse career opportunities within STEM.”

Keynote speaker Thessa Buscar, senior systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, spoke about the importance of women in the engineering fields with a focus on women designing for women. Via video, the students also heard from Kyla Hill, the first female graduate of JCC’s associate degree program in welding technology who is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering technology at Ferris State University.

Marilyn A. Zagora, JCC’s vice president and dean of academic affairs, welcomed students to the event.

Participating students represented the Dunkirk, Jamestown, Salamanca, and Olean school districts, the Gustavus Adolphus Learning Center, and homeschool group programs in Chautauqua County and the Warren area.