Local Conference Seeks To Close Gender Gap in Science and Technology

Traditionally, minorities and women have made up a low percentage in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Even more alarming is the fact that Latina girls are more likely than girls of any other ethnic group to drop out of high school, further decreasing their likelihood of attending college and pursuing careers in these fields. In an effort to address the under-representation of Latina women in science and engineering, Intel Corporation and select Maricopa Community Colleges (Estrella Mountain Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College and South Mountain Community College) collaborate to host a conference aimed at closing the gender gap in science and technology:

Hermanas: Disena Tu Futuro/Design Your FutureSaturday, February 25, 9 am to 5 pmat Estrella Mountain Community College

The one-day conference, facilitated by professional Latina women, seeks to provide a supportive environment where young women can interact with successful Latinas, explore technical careers and receive encouragement to finish school, attend college and pursue their educational and personal goals. Another component will focus on building problem solving skills, teamwork and creativity through a series of interactive, hands-on workshops. Keynote speaker for the event is Velia G. Leybas, MSW, University of Arizona clinical lecturer and faculty, Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence. Since the conference's inception one year ago, it's clear the program is already beginning to impact the lives of young Latinas.

Sheena Mata, a previous participant and sophomore at Dysart Union High School in Surprise, mirrored others' responses when she spoke about its effect on her. "Seeing Hispanic women who have succeeded in their careers shows me that if I try hard and keep going to school, I can achieve my goals and succeed like they did. And maybe accomplish even more." Jocelyn Zavala, also a sophomore at Dysart, added, "The hands-on activities are what I liked most. I learned how to talk and work with new people and it showed me that different careers are open to me."

In all, 250 participants, grades six to 12, from a number of schools in the metropolitan Phoenix area, are expected to attend.

Estrella Mountain Community College is located at 3000 N. Dysart Road, just south of Thomas in Avondale. For directions, call 623.935.8000.

Estrella Mountain Community College, Phoenix College and South Mountain Community College are designated Hispanic Serving Institutions by the U.S. Department of Education and are part of The Maricopa Community Colleges. Intel's collaboration with the colleges represents the organization's commitment to strengthening community outreach and supporting educational programs that break down barriers that prevent young women from attaining higher education and careers in the technology arena.

About The Maricopa Community CollegesServing nearly three million Maricopa residents since 1962, the Maricopa Community Colleges are made up of ten colleges, two skill centers and multiple campuses and sites. The college system is the largest provider of post-secondary education and workforce training in Arizona. Additional information about the Maricopa Community College is available at http://www.maricopa.edu/press/

About IntelIntel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.