Campus program shows middle schoolers careers to count on

Math Options workshops highlight math related careers.

Lola Smith, instructor of anatomy and physiology at Penn State DuBois, instructed girls in the Math Options Program in a workshop that highlighted ways the study of anatomy can be used in forensic science.

Credit: Penn State

DUBOIS, Pa. — The annual Math Options Program at Penn State DuBois once again welcomed youngsters from around the region for a first-hand look at some math- and science-intensive career fields on May 9.

A total of 125 seventh-grade girls from nine school districts participated in the program. They were introduced to careers and everyday activities that require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program is designed to teach middle schoolers how math skills apply to a variety of real-world situations and rewarding careers. The hope is that they stay interested in mathematics by learning about the opportunities and success that they can realize through its’ use. The program is aimed at the specific seventh grade demographic, especially girls, because statistics show that they are at the greatest risk for losing interest in these essential subjects.

"This is an age at which girls begin to lose interest in STEM fields, and all of the workshops we have here deal with STEM fields and their practical application in careers," said Heather Parizek, an instructor in mathematics and geosciences at Penn State DuBois, as well as Math Options co-director. "All the workshops are also instructed by women who work in fields using math and science, so the instructors really serve as role models for these girls, too."

Schools that participated in this year's program include Brockway, Brookville, Curwensville, DuBois Area, DuBois Central Catholic, Harmony, Kane, Ridgway Area, and St. Marys Area.