By Dawn Hatfield
DARKE COUNTY — Nearly 90 young women from five Darke County Schools (grades nine through 12) attended the second IMPACT STEM2D Conference hosted by Darke County Chamber of Commerce and Darke County Economic Development on March 17 at Birchwood Training Center in Greenville.
IMPACT is a one day educational opportunity for young women in high schools throughout Darke County to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design (STEM2D). The day offered hands-on activities, personal connections, and a career fair with local employers wishing to connect with the community’s future workforce. New this year, IMPACT offered a Women in Workforce panel, offering students the chance to interact with local women in STEM2D careers to better understand their background, daily experiences, and opportunities for success.
To begin the conference, University of Cincinnati Director of Online Instruction Carolyn Stoll, MA, gave a keynote address. Stoll holds a bachelor’s degree in Education and a master’s degree in English from Miami University in Ohio. She has taught middle school language arts and composition and technical writing at the University of Cincinnati. She has extensive experience teaching and developing learning content in online, hybrid, and face-to-face formats. In 2010, Stoll joined the University of Cincinnati’s Information Technologies Unit as a senior instructional designer and eventually became the interim associate director of online learning. In addition to her many other positions and interests, Stoll later joined University of Cincinnati Online (UCO), and as Director, now helps lead the UCO Instruction Team in designing and building courses for the university’s fully-online programs.
With honesty, humility, and humor, Stoll conveyed her personal journey to the young women in attendance. Noting that “we don’t have enough women in STEM,” Stoll encouraged students to “keep [themselves] open for opportunities that don’t even exist today.” From a novice language arts teacher who received the gift of the 1983 Compaq Portable Computer early in her career to the director of UCO Instruction team, Stoll recapped the many twists and turns along her path, all stitched together with one common thread—following her interest in technology. “Pursue your interests,” Stoll said, “and the skills, ability, and opportunities will follow.”
Darke County Economic Development Workforce Specialist Tamela Marley said, “For most students, this is their first experience at a professional conference, and that is invaluable in itself, learning to network. Opportunities like this allow our students to practice so much: professional and verbal communication; interaction with local employers to learn more about opportunities in their backyard; and exploration of STEM2D careers in a fun, positive and friendly environment.”
IMPACT STEM2D featured the following Event Sponsors: BASF and Midmark (lunch sponsor). Gold Sponsors included Brethren Retirement Community, Edison State Community College, Spirit Medical Transport, Wayne HealthCare, and Whirlpool-Greenville Facility. Career Sponsors were Classic Carriers, Cooper Farms, Darke County General Health District, EverHeart Hospice, GNB Banking Centers, JAFE Decorating, The Andersons, Reid Health, and Upper Valley Career Center-Adult Division.
IMPACT also thanks Greenville Chapter of Business and Professional Women for their assistance during the event.
Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.