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Dream Baby Dream - Girls Empowered at Inaugural STEAM Event

Greg Elliott

Thursday, March 6, 2014 • 12:55pm

SUMMIT, NJ - They may have heard the same words before but, for a girl pondering her next career and life steps, there is something special about hearing them from accomplished women of all ages.

"Think in 3D"
 
"Everyone's story is different"
 
"Your career will always be changing"
 
"Don't listen to the negative"
 
"Follow your passion, wherever it may be or take you" 
 
In sum, "Dream Big."
 
Those were just a few of the pearls of wisdom imparted on nearly 50 girls and their parents, as Summit School Board President Gloria Ron-Fornes and Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson joined forces to host the first-ever STEAM event at Lawton C. Johnson Middle School.
 
The young women, middle- and high school-aged, participated in hands-on activities, group discussions, and listened to a series of presenters tell them that, in a still male-oriented workplace, anything is possible.  In addition to the inspiration, everyone munched on food provided by The Eatery and What a Dish, meaning the event satisfied both the mind and the appetite.  
 
More than a dozen speakers, offering a kaleidoscope of industries, experience, and perspective even told the attendees some stuff they have probably heard before at home, including:
 
"Let go of being right"
 
"You don't know what you don't know"
 
"Listen to your parents, they just might be right"
 
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.  Ron-Fornes was the catalyst for the event, easily recruiting Dickson to form a powerful one-two combination consisting of two of the most influential, and respected, women in Summit.  They, in turn, reached out to their contacts and the success of the program is likely to spawn a series of STEAM events, perhaps even one for the boys.
 
"This is about 'the art of the possible'." said Ron-Fornes.  "We want these young ladies to ask questions, be open to the possibilities, and not let their environment -- or anything -- pull them back."  "We want them take risks, make themselves be curious," added Dickson.  
 
For more information on the STEAM program, visit http://tinyurl.com/summitsteam2014.
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