Inspiring young women through Impact STEM2D


GREENVILLE — The Darke County Chamber of Commerce and Darke County Economic Development recently organized an empowering event aimed at encouraging young women to explore careers in STEM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design). With nearly 100 attendees from grades 9 to 12 representing four schools, the event provided a platform for hands-on workshops, interactions with local women in STEM2D careers, and insights from representatives of companies supporting women in these fields.

STEM2D careers offer a wide array of opportunities, and the event aimed to showcase this diversity through various activities and discussions. Keynote speaker Dr. Melissa A. Wertz, Provost at Edison State Community College, shared valuable insights into the significance of women in STEM2D by sharing her own career journey and sharing skills for success. She encouraged the young women to make connections with the employers, and as they moved throughout their education, to develop their skills for success, such as, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication and Problem Solving.

One of the highlights of the event was the Workforce Panel discussion featuring seven women in STEM2D careers, allowing students to ask questions and gain firsthand knowledge about their journey in STEM2D careers. This interactive session not only provided valuable information but also inspired the young women to consider these fields as viable career options. Denise Elsas, Workforce Specialist with Darke County Economic Development shared, “Through the event today, these young women learned more about a STEM2D career they are interested in, and in some cases learned what they may not want to do, which is just as important. This event really showcases to students the options they have for their future.”

Moreover, five Hands-On Activities by employers gave students the opportunity to delve deeper into specific areas of STEM2D, enhancing their understanding and igniting their passion for these fields. Students learned how to turn milk into plastic in one of these activities while in another they learned more about correct portion sizes. The hands-on experiences offered were instrumental in helping students understand and develop professional and verbal communication skills, interact with local employers, and learn in a fun, positive, and friendly environment.

In addition to the workforce panel and hands-on activities, the students also had the opportunity to visit with 19 local employers through a Career Fair. This gave the students and employers a chance to discuss more in depth about the careers in STEM2D available at each organization. “Our continuing hope for this event is that our students will have opportunities to explore careers that are available right here in Darke County,” said Rachel Neal, President of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce. “We heard from

several students that they learned of a program they could join right away that would jump start their careers; one student even mentioned she was going to apply right when she got home. That is our goal: young women experiencing a new opportunity that will set them on the path to becoming successful members of our community.”

Darke County Chamber of Commerce and Darke County Economic Development thank the following companies for participating and sponsoring this great event – Event Sponsor – BASF; Gold Sponsors – Brethren Retirement Community, Edison State Community College, Klockner Pentaplast, Midmark Corporation, Spirit Medical Transport, The Andersons, Wayne HealthCare, Whirlpool, and Career Sponsors – Classic Carriers, Cooper Farms, Crown Equipment, Darke County Health District, EverHeart Hospice, Family Health Services of Darke County, Fort Recovery Industries, GNB Banking Centers, JAFE Decorating, and Reid Health.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support and dedication of the planning team and they would like to thank the volunteers from the Greenville Chapter of Business & Professional Women who helped at the event. Their efforts, along with the support of sponsors and speakers, contributed to making the event a resounding success for empowering young women in STEM2D and paving the way for a brighter future in these dynamic fields.

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