Girls get firsthand glimpse at power of possibility

Published 02.28.2022

Architecture & Sustainable Design
Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
Student News
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Engineering Technologies
Women in STEM

“Thinking outside the box,” the ninth graders began their campus visit in the Thompson Professional Development Center, brainstorming various alternate uses for a pizza box. A bird’s eye view of busy hands in the HVAC lab as the Girl Power participants construct PEX water piping that was later tested to make sure there were no leaks. The girls were assisted by Marc E. Bridgens, associate professor of HVAC technology, and three HVAC students: Christie R. Baldwin, of New Milford; Emily K. Cummins, of Williamsport; and Maggie J. Mangene, of Boalsburg.Dorothy J. Gerring (right), associate professor of architecture, offers a scenic tour of SketchUp 3D modeling. Gerring was accompanied by Amanda F. Ritter, a building science and sustainable design: architectural concentration student from Williamsport.Blue skies and sunshine greet the young visitors as they make their way on campus.The afternoon concludes with an online discussion with JEM's Jennifer Ponce de Leon (on computer screen), business development manager, and Margaret Smith, assistant project manager. The girls posed a variety of questions about the professional field in a conversation facilitated by Tanya Berfield (standing), director of K-12 Outreach. Berfield was assisted by Stefanie M. Shipe, coordinator of K-12 Outreach. (They also participated in an evening Zoom session on Feb. 21 with the girls.)"Girl Power," aimed at helping ninth graders explore potential careers and boost their confidence through encouraging mentorship by professionals, continued over the weekend at Penn College.

The Feb. 27 agenda included hands-on activities in the college's heating, ventilation and air conditioning lab and its architecture studio; as well as a Q&A with representatives of JEM Group, a woman-owned construction services firm based in Camp Hill.

The program – a mix of virtual meet-ups on Monday evenings and on-campus sessions on Sunday afternoons – runs through April 24.