St. Mary’s University’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology hosted more than 400 middle school girls from around San Antonio on Saturday, February 12, 2011, for Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a one-day conference designed to encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.

The conference featured numerous small-group workshops that allowed participants to see the career possibilities from studying science and math. The keynote speaker was Dorothy Shippen, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University, and workshops will include presentations on a variety of math and science-related topics, including archaeology (presented by Witte Museum staff) , animal psychology, (presented by SeaWorld animal trainers), ecology (presented by San Antonio River Authority staff), various types of engineering, psychology, information technology, computer science, genetics, dentistry and more.

The local conference is part of a larger effort through the international nonprofit organization Expanding Your Horizons Network, which is comprised of volunteer educators, scientists, mathematicians, parents, community leaders and government and corporate representatives. Community volunteers develop the local conferences, such as this one.

Expanding Your Horizons has a long history in San Antonio. From 1985-2003, the annual event attracted more than 1,200 girls from all over South Texas. It was revived in 2010 on a smaller scale, targeting only middle school students from the more immediate area.

This year’s EYH event chairperson is Pamela Fink, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the St. Mary’s Department of Computer Science. Numerous faculty, staff and students from St. Mary’s and other partner universities have assisted with the event. Faculty and student volunteers from St. Mary’s, the Feik School of Pharmacy at the University of the Incarnate Word, Our Lady of the Lake, and The University of Texas at San Antonio will present workshops and facilitate.

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