Feature Story | 6-May-2024

Argonne hosts 2024 Science Careers in Search of Women event

Conference gives high school girls a chance to explore scientific possibilities

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

To achieve diversity and equal representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, female students can be furnished with additional opportunities, experiences and resources to encourage them to pursue their interests.

To this end, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory each year hosts Science Careers in Search of Women (SCSW), a one-day event hosted by Argonne’s Women in Science and Technology (WIST) employee resource group.  SCSW offers female high school students an extraordinary opportunity to explore STEM professions and areas of interest through interaction with the laboratory’s world-class scientists and engineers. The program strives to inspire young women to pursue careers in science by bringing them into the laboratory for a day of lectures, tours, career booth exhibits, and mentoring.

During this year’s event, which took place on April 10, the students listened to a talk on cryptography and received guided tours of many of Argonne’s laboratory facilities. In the afternoon, they attended a series of panel talks, including information on chemistry and physics, computing, engineering and life sciences.

“I think this event and this environment has made a huge impact on my view of scientists in general,” said Elise Rachoy, a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School. ​“As a senior going into my college career in mechanical engineering, I was nervous about potentially being the only woman in my major and not having a lot of support. At Science Careers in Search of Women, everyone is friendly and wants to get to know you, and so I feel encouraged. Argonne is a place where women are appreciated, and our thoughts and experiences are valued and appreciated equally.”

“People at Argonne are passionate about outreach,” said Lincoln-Way East High School senior Yasmine Khativ. ​“You can see the diversity in action; everything is interconnected, and everyone is part of a big team.”

The goal of SCSW is to give female students the tools and confidence they need to be the leaders of tomorrow, said WIST program initiator and conference co-chair Rebecca Yassan. ​“We want to give students the ability to see things from a different perspective and to imagine futures for themselves that they may never have previously anticipated,” Yassan said. ​“I didn’t have these kinds of opportunities when I was their age, so it’s important for us to share our stories and what we do — that’s what means the most to me.”

According to conference co-chair Kathy Rusniak, being able to experience an event like SCSW can help young women develop new interests and have confidence in their own capabilities. ​“Here, students can see themselves in new roles with more well-defined interests,” she said. ​“With more information, they might gain new perspective and make it easier to see where they’re going in their futures.”

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.