Women in Science 2016 October 10, 2016

Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance (WPWA) and Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station hosted their 2nd Annual Women in Science Symposium on September 20, 2016 at The Heritage Nightclub at Woodloch. This event began with breakfast, networking and a keynote address, then panelists showcased various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields our region has to offer. With the intent to support and promote the pursuit of careers and studies in STEM related occupations, attendees listened firsthand to real life experiences and inspired messages as provided by the five panelists, and keynote speaker for the event. Attendees also interacted with various STEM professionals in the audience, and spoke with College & University table sponsors who shared their course and degree programs.

Keynote Speaker, State Senator Lisa Baker, Chair, Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee discussed Overcoming Obstacles to Achievement and Satisfaction. She shared the following messages: “When you are setting your goals, you want something in line with your interests, or even better, your passion. You want something where you deploy your skills, intellectual and physical, and something where you feel you are making a contribution.” – “In the end, we can show you blueprints for success, but your inner drive, your confidence, and your adaptiveness in the face of discouragement will determine your professional destiny.” – “Every job experience prepares you for your next opportunity.”


Lisa Baker and panelists

The panel included: Sarah Hall-Bagdonas – Program Manager, Northern Tier Hardwood Association; Patti Duncan – Manager, Instructional Implementation, Discovery Education; Brittany Gross – Veterinarian and Raw Milk Producer, Gross Family Dairy; Katie Lester – Compliance Specialist, Brookfield Renewable; and Vicki Stanavitch – Program Coordinator for the Biological and Physical Sciences, Keystone College. Each shared their personal journey, travels, community services and connectivity, education, career challenges and choices & ultimately what lead them to making the decision to pursue their current career. A consistent message was conveyed about making a career choice, be your own person, stand up for what you believe in, and have confidence in yourself to make your own decisions.

With two hundred forty-two people in attendance, one hundred seventy-six attendees were students and chaperones from Delaware Valley, North Pocono, Wallenpaupack Area, Wayne Highlands and Western Wayne School Districts. Following the program, all attendees had the opportunity to meet with STEM attendees, panelists, keynote and sponsors, and Senator Baker shared time for those who wanted to capture the moment with a photo.

“The positive feedback continues to pour in with individuals sharing how this program impacted them. Participation from the community and districts was quite impressive this year, but we still have many more students to reach, young and old. We can’t wait to begin planning next year’s event”, stated Cheryl Duquette, Director of Program Development, WPWA.


Students interviewed by Channel 13

Here’s what some audience members had to say about the Symposium:

“It is important to pursue whatever field that you want to, to believe in yourself, and to not let negative people stop you from reaching your dreams.” – Angelina Ioppolo, Student, Wallenpaupack Area School District

“Everyone was very happy and helped me with my stem career a lot.” – Student, Wallenpaupack Area School District

“Great Program!” – Teacher, Wayne Highlands School District

“The colleges here today helped me a lot in opening my eyes to all the possibilities for my future.” – Student

“Excellent panel this year!” – Teacher, Delaware Valley School District

“Thank you so much for organizing & presenting to our girls.” – Administrator, Western Wayne School District

“I enjoyed myself immensely!” – Panelist

“The Women in Science Symposium was empowering and inspired me to take charge of my future and to create my own opportunities. I learned to be brave and step out of my comfort zone. These women’s stories showed their courage and drive to achieve.” – Victoria Rojas, Junior, Wallenpaupack Area School District


Students with colleges

Each attendee received a women-in-science-information-packet which included materials about STEM academics and occupations and pages dedicated to each school district in attendance.