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WIB-Pittsburgh: Young Women In Bio Presents Awards at the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

For the third straight year, the WIB-Pittsburgh Young Women In Bio (YWIB) group sponsored two awards at the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair (PRSEF), held March 31 – April 1, 2017. PRSEF is an open competition of research projects in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering available to students in grades 6-12 from 23 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Garrett County in Maryland. The YWIB awardees were selected from the Junior (6th grade) and Intermediate Levels (7th-8th grade) in the Biology category, and will each receive $50. These winners were chosen with the help of three volunteer judges: Ali Nagle, Julie Cramer, and Kritika Ramani. This year’s winners were Amulya Garimella, an 8th grader at Dorseyville Middle School, for her project “Pensieve: Analyze the Genes that Affect Memory” and Alaina Beal, a 6th grader at St. Agnes, for her project “So Tell Me-What’s in Your Soil?” YWIB wants to congratulate all who participated in PRSEF this year for their outstanding work.

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WIB-Pittsburgh: YWIB Attendees Gain Startup Expertise, March 28, 2017

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh’s Young Women In Bio committee invited a group of young women from Pittsburgh’s Shadyside Academy to attend our chapter’s “Create & Cultivate a Startup” career panel program on March 28, 2017. The students who attended ranged in age from high school freshmen to seniors, and were either considering careers in the biosciences or were interested in learning about the range of careers that exist in that field and what they entail.

These students first sat in on the career panel along with the rest of the attendees, and then WIB members Ali Nagle, Julie Cramer, and Erika Fanselow spoke with them for an hour afterward. We discussed a range of topics, including types of career paths; getting started in the biosciences in college; the range of biosciences jobs available; and, most importantly, we encouraged the students to ask us questions about the things they had heard during the career panel.

A common theme throughout our discussion was how important it was for one to have the ability and willingness to be flexible about potential career paths and plans. All three WIB members could attest to the importance of not feeling pressured to know precisely what one is going to do for a living when in high school (and later!); and they could attest to the fact that it is not possible to predict both the pitfalls and opportunities one will encounter along the way. Several of the students replied that they felt very relieved to hear from us that such flexibility is not only part of the process of navigating one’s career, but that it is encouraged and can, in fact, be an advantageous approach.

This was the first event Young Women In Bio held using this format. Based on the success of it, we are planning to incorporate young women in future WIB events when possible.

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YWIB-Pittsburgh Innovation and Entrepreneurship Workshop, October 28, 2017

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Young Women In Bio (YWIB), the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering collaborated to put on a workshop to teach young women about innovation and entrepreneurship on October 28, 2017. This event was part of the Carnegie Science Center’s “Tour Your Future” program, which is designed to introduce young women to STEM careers. Jeanine McCreary, President of The McCreary Group, and an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Innovation Institute, introduced the group to principles of “pretotyping” as a useful early step in product design. She also described what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and discussed what goes into starting with an initial idea for a product and bringing it to fruition as part of a profitable venture. Then, the attendees, aged 11-15, got a chance to brainstorm possible devices to help the elderly. They discussed their ideas in small groups and made a rapid pretotype using resources in the Pitt Makerpsace in the Swanson School of Engineering. After a preliminary explanation of their pretotype to all participants, each small group refined their project, based on the input they received. Finally, the groups presented their pretotype and described their rationale for the device and how they anticipated it would work. This project clearly stimulated the young women not simply to come up with a creative idea, but also to begin to shape it, based on practical considerations revealed during the pretotyping process. They were enthusiastic about constructing their model products and gave each group important feedback on how to improve their design.

Click here for more photos

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