The Tri-Valley Expanding Your Horizons (TVEYH) conference recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with more than 300 young women attending the daylong event to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). See the video on Facebook.
This year's theme, "Never Give Up," encouraged young women to never give up in pursuing their dreams. The idea was spurred by a quote from Nelson Mandela, “it always seems impossible until its done.”
Participants, spanning grades 6-9, came from Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and Tracy to attend the event held at the Diablo Valley College, San Ramon Campus. Attendees participated in special group activities along with two 90-minute hands-on workshops in engineering, chemistry, biology, computer science, environmental science, robotics and more. The day also featured a career fair comprised of booths that allowed participants to learn about different career opportunities and engage with professional women role models in STEM-related careers.
"Many times, these young women walk into the conference and are very shy and unsure and by the end of the day, they are confident and excited in the opportunities they are exposed to through the workshops, special activity and career fair," said Jessica Copeman, conference co-chair and an LLNL employee, "It’s as though they have found other young women who are interested in similar subject matters to them and they are presented with opportunities that they didn’t know were possible before.”
All attendees were very engaged in the workshops and activities. By the end of the day, the girls were giddy with excitement. Eighth grade student Tanvi Penugonda, who attends Joe Mitchell K-8 school in Livermore, was surprised by how much she learned. “I really enjoyed Tri-Valley Expanding Your Horizons because I got to spend time with my friends and I also really enjoyed the experiments in space (where no one can hear you scream) because I really liked how they talked about the vacuum pushing gold onto your pennies.”
The hands-on activities are what captured the attention of Anushree Vijey, a seventh-grade student at Fallon Middle School in Dublin. “I had a lot of fun taking apart a computer. I first took it apart and learned about what was inside it and then put in back together again and tested it to see if it worked. It worked!”
The annual conference is coordinated by a core committee of volunteers with the help of more than 200 additional volunteers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Sandia National Laboratories/California and the American Association of University Women.
“Co-chairing TVEYH is very rewarding to me personally,” Copeman said.” Giving young women the confidence to not only excel in school in math and science but also pursue careers in STEM is such a long-lasting benefit to our community. If we can open a door that wasn’t there before, create friendships with other young women that have similar interests to them or provide one attendee the self-assurance to continue pursuing math and science, then it’s worth it.”
For more information about the conference, visit the TVEYH website. Individuals interested in volunteering at next year's conference can send an tveyh [at] llnl.gov (email).
More photos from this year's conference will be available soon in the TVEYH photo gallery.