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Women in various STEM related fields were encouraging young women to follow careers in science at a recent symposium.

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At a recent Women in Science symposium presented by he Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance, Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station female students were encouraged to seek mentors and follow their passions when choosing a career.  Deputy secretary for workforce development for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Eileen Cipriani told the students to find careers they are passionate about that will enable them to make a good living.

Cipriani says that women hold 30 percent of the STEM jobs across the nation, and a lesser percentage have STEM undergraduate degrees, despite comprising half the workforce.  She says that in STEM fields, women earn 33 percent more that women in non-STEM professions, however they don’t enter the fields or pursue careers in science  because of gender stereotypes and a lack of female role models.

At times, Cipriani has found that she is the lone female in some professional settings.  She says that these situations require courage, especially when her opinion is different from her colleagues.  Developing the confidence in herself has taken a long time, she says. She encouraged the students to speak up and be heard.

Students also heard from other professionals who advised them to keep current in developments, and invest the time and effort necessary to follow a career path. Students asked many questions, including finding out about colleges, and which degrees and programs might suit them best.

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