Event to Inspire Future Female Scientists

April 16, 2013

The third annual Sacred SISTAHS math and science conference for middle- and high-school girls will be held Saturday, April 20, at Harvey Mudd College.

Although open to all girls, the event will focus on empowering young African-American girls by introducing them to successful academic and professional role models.

This year’s conference will feature women from diverse academic and professional fields giving TED-style talks related to the theme “Inspiration Equation: What Inspires You?”

Speakers will include Lisa Cagnolatti, vice president of Southern California Edison’s Business Customer Division, Ingrid Johnson, executive director of the Council of African American Parents, and motivational speaker Nicoline Ambe. HMC math Professors Rachel Levy and Talithia Williams also will present talks. Panelists will include JPL flight systems engineer Tracy Drain, ESRI support analyst Rashan Walker, Raytheon systems engineer Tyrie Mitchell and pediatrician Jana Webb.

“Since this is the third year of the conference, we are really interested in assessing the impact on the girls as they look toward college and begin to think about majors,” said conference organizer and HMC math Professor Talithia Williams. “Mathematics is a gateway subject, and their interest and success in math will often be the path that leads them into other scientific fields. Ultimately, we want them to continue to envision themselves as the STEM leaders of tomorrow.”

A special parent session, facilitated by representatives from the Council of African American Parents, will share how parents can help their daughters choose the right college, complete applications and apply for scholarships.

The event is sponsored by Sacred SISTAHS (Sisters in Solidarity Teaching and Healing our Spirits), the HMC Mathematics Department, the Mathematical Association of America, and Transcendence Children and Family Services of Pomona.