Expanding Your Horizons Chicago Conference will provide girls with hands-on workshops and parents with local resources and career development
Chicago, IL, – Registration is now open for Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Chicago Conference, March 24 at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. This one day volunteer-led conference, which over 200 sixth through eighth grade girls are expected to attend, is designed to demonstrate the diverse and exciting opportunities that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers have to offer. This year the keynote speakers are Dr. Enid Montague of DePaul University and Northwestern University and Corlis D. Murray of Abbott Laboratories. Volunteer applications opened on January 22, and student and parent program registration opens on February 12. Seats are limited, so please visit to register now!
EYH Chicago is a chapter of the National EYH Network, which was founded in 1974 in the San Francisco Bay area by female scientists and educators who were concerned about the underrepresentation of women in STEM. Although women have become more equally represented in the decades since, the problem persists and women remain vastly outnumbered in many STEM fields. Official reports show that women held only 24% of STEM jobs and women of color made up about 10% of STEM professionals in the United States in 2017. Many studies have linked this gender gap to early childhood experiences. As early as middle-school, many girls start believing that a career in STEM is not for them. EYH Chicago addresses this issue and empowers girls to explore STEM careers by offering them an opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM activities led by female STEM role models.
“2018 marks the 6th year of this conference in Chicago,” said Laura Manning, Co-Director of EYH Chicago. “We believe that when we create opportunities for girls to have fun interacting with female role models who work in STEM, we can change their attitudes about how they fit into this field. We are proud to provide these girls with the motivation and resources to deliver positive change within the Chicago STEM community.”
Students will participate in three workshops in which local female STEM professionals and community leaders will lead hands-on activities and share their experiences. This year’s conference will ignite students’ enthusiasm and creativity with workshops over a wide range of STEM fields, such as chemistry, physics, biology, architecture, computer science, neuroscience, 3D printing, engineering, food science, material science, microscopy, mathematics, robotics, and paleontology.
Past workshops have been led by women from local universities, museums, and businesses. Highlights from EYH 2017 Conference include:
Banana DNA – Extract DNA from banana cells
Become a Natural with Natural Products – Go on a natural products hunt
Glucose, Lactose, Sucrose! Oh my! – Experiment with enzymes and sugars
Private Eye: Zoom in on Nature – Magnify tiny patterns in insect wings, textured fabric, flower petals, and more
Work-Life Balance: Architect in Residence – Build floor plans and sections using tools architects work with every day
Methods in Paleontology – Create plaster casts of fossil crocodile and dinosaur teeth
EYH Chicago additionally hosts a program aimed at informing parents and educators about opportunities available for students in the Chicagoland area. Parents in attendance meet STEM professionals, receive information about high school and college preparations, and will leave the event with ideas of broader community resources and extracurricular activities.
On the day of the conference, volunteers will be chaperones, help with registration, assist workshop leaders, and help with setting up and cleaning before and after the event.
“The experience was rewarding, and I had so much fun!” said Carolyn Rojsutivat, a graduate student at DePaul University, who volunteered with EYH in 2017. “These girls are exceptionally smart, and I’m excited to come back and volunteer next year!”
For information on how you can support our cause or the conference, visit .
About Expanding Your Horizons Chicago: The Chicago chapter of the National EYH Network was established in 2012 by graduate students and postdocs at the University of Chicago with encouragement and mentoring from University of Chicago and Fermilab physicist Young-Kee Kim. Since the first event in 2013, EYH Chicago has grown to include volunteers, organizers, and support from universities such as UIC and DePaul, and other businesses in the community. Over 100 volunteers, 60 workshop leaders, and 68 organizing committee members participate in the conference, and students from over 84 Chicago schools have participated. The organization utilizes members’ skills and community connections to generate interest, materials, and financial support for the annual EYH Chicago conference. The ultimate goal is to increase the representation of women from diverse backgrounds in STEM careers by exposing middle-school girls to positive, hands-on experiences in STEM with female role models and equipping parents with knowledge of how to facilitate their child’s success.