STEM Opens Doors for Girls on March 17, 2018

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STEM Opens Doors for Girls on March 17, 2018

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Orinda-Moraga-Lafayette (OML)

Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) STEM Conference at Saint Mary’s College

The third annual AAUW EYH STEM Conference for middle school age girls is almost here: March 17 at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. The conference creates educational opportunities for girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

AAUW-OML is passionate about STEM subjects and the powerful positive impact that they have on middle school girls and their futures. In 2015, AAUW-OML established this one-day STEM conference where girls experience interactive workshops introduced by women working in these fields. In organizing the program, AAUW-OML formed important partnerships with the School of Science at Saint Mary’s College and Expanding Your Horizons (EYH).

This powerful daylong experience introduces middle school girls to:

• A highly successful STEM professional who will talk about her background, career path, and expertise. Eve Phillips, Group Product Manager, GOOGLE, and Council Member, City of Orinda, will kick off the conference with an inspirational talk.;

• Three hands-on STEM-based (FBI crime scene technology, building bridges, exploring the inside of computers, creating optical art, understanding the physics of air and space flight, etc) workshops led by professionals, who serve as role models;

• Many careers in STEM-related fields; and

• A beautiful college campus and high school girls, many of them alumna of the conference, trained to serve as ambassadors.

All heady stuff for a middle school girl!

Parents are invited to join a morning workshop featuring a keynote speaker, and a panel discussion, including a high school student from Campolindo High School, a Tech Trek graduate now attending UC Berkeley, a nutritionist and a psychologist. The theme of the presentation is “Negotiating the Maze: How to Guide Your Daughter through Choosing Her Academic Electives in High School and College.” A campus tour and refreshments are included.

There are many, many volunteers who make this conference possible. Besides volunteers from the AAUW-OML branch, alumna from our Tech Trek and Sister-to-Sister programs, and local high school girls provide assistance in the workshops. AAUW-OML is very proud of our special “Ambassador” program for high school girls who have the opportunity to take on leadership roles in putting on the conference. Girls from Acalanes, Campolindo and Miramonte High Schools help plan the conference, train volunteers, and monitor and troubleshoot all activities on the day of the conference.

The conference is limited to 200 girls in grades 6 through 8 on a first come, first serve basis. The day runs from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Our goal is to make this conference accessible to everyone, so there is a small $25 registration fee. Scholarships are available. Register online at

AAUW-OML is thankful to our donors who make this program affordable for all girls: Saint Mary’s College, Chevron, Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club, and many individuals in our community.

Two Workshop Presenters for March 17, 2018 STEM Conference



We welcome Danielle Touma and Adrienne Johnson as workshop presenters at our March 17, 2018 AAUW STEM Conference at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga.

Danielle is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University. Her research is focused on exploring the changes in extreme climate events in both the past and the future. She uses climate models, statistics, and large datasets to understand how the climate is changing under increased anthropogenic warming.

Prior to her PhD work, Danielle obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University and worked as a research assistant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Throughout her academic career, Danielle has been committed to increasing diversity in the academic and scientific communities by mentoring younger graduate students, teaching K-12 students about climate change, and engaging in various organizations that support women in science.

Adrienne is a graduate of Stanford University, completing both a BS and MS in Civil Engineering in 2014 and 2016, respectively. While in her undergraduate career, Adrienne balanced her newfound interest in engineering with her time as a high jumper on the Varsity Track & Field team. During her masters, which was focused on Sustainable Design & Construction, Adrienne built up her knowledge of building systems engineering and construction management. While in the second half of the program, Adrienne leveraged this skillset to co-lead a team of young women engineers to design, fundraise, and build the Net Zero Energy Parkwood Tech Center in a disadvantaged community in Cape Town, South Africa. This project was recently awarded the Malcolm Lewis IMPACT Award by the US Green Building Council at their annual conference in Boston.

Today, Adrienne works as a project engineer at a San Francisco-based design engineering firm (Point Energy Innovations) that focuses on Net Zero Energy and High-Performance buildings. Her work includes energy modeling, life cycle cost analysis, sustainability consulting, and mechanical system design. As one of very few young women of color in her field, Adrienne has always strived to act as a role model for others, whether it was through teaching young Girl Scouts about building energy, mentoring younger engineering students, or volunteering at events like the AAUW STEM Conference.

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