STEM Sisters mentor Beth Valentin, who works as a quality assurance vendor coordinator for a local boiler manufacturer, knows firsthand the impact that special programs can have on the course of a woman's career. While a student at a York high school, Valentin participated in a program that promoted careers in manufacturing, and she completed an internship where she learned about machining. When her initial plans to attend a four-year college did not pan out, Valentin considered a different option.
"I took a lot of art classes, and (my guidance counselor) pointed out that I like to make things. Machining is making things," Valentin said.
Valentin earned an associate degree in machine, tool, and computer-aided manufacturing from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Then, she entered the college's mechanical engineering program.
"I hated math in high school," Valentin said, noting that the right instructor in college changed her perspective. "Once I understood (math), it was great."
Valentin hopes to inspire young women to consider pursuing training and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through the North Museum of Nature & Science's STEM Sisters program.
"I've stayed involved with the program because it's amazing," Valentin said. "When you see all those young girls doing techy things and getting excited about it, it's exciting for you too. (STEM Sisters is) a platform for them to do that and connect with peers and women in STEM careers that they probably didn't even know existed."
Valentin will be one of the speakers at the STEM Sisters 2017-18 season launch party that will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, at Rock Lititz, 100 Rock Lititz Blvd., Lititz. Girls in grades six through 12 will be able to attempt a STEM scavenger hunt, explore STEM professions through hands-on activities, and learn about this season's events. The girls' parents and guardians may participate in a breakout session with a career development counselor to learn about the importance of STEM education, future STEM jobs projections, and the core competences that students need in order to be successful in a competitive job market. Light refreshments will be served. There is no charge for students, parents, or mentors to attend, but preregistration at https://northmuseum.org/event/stem-sisters-launch-party/ is required.
"Women often underestimate the fact they can have a STEM career," Valentin remarked.
STEM Sisters was founded in 2015 in order to make a difference in young women's lives. The North Museum invites STEM-focused organizations and businesses in Lancaster County to be a part of showing STEM Sisters participants potential career paths and discussing what it means to be a STEM professional. Interested individuals may contact STEM education coordinator Kristen Eisenreich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-358-4371.