STEM Conference Goes Virtual

(Courtesy of Franceska Hinkamp)
STEM keynote speaker Franceska Hinkamp is a pioneering genetic counselor in pediatrics, adult medical genetics, neonatal intensive care and cancer predisposition at UCLA’s Institute for Precision Health.

    Have you ever wanted to explore data-driven experimental design using s’mores or touch plant DNA? Middle school girls have an opportunity to do just that and more at the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) annual STEM conference.
    The local Orinda, Moraga, Lafayette (OML) branch of AAUW sponsors the annual conference, which takes place this year as a virtual event on March 20.
    At the conference, young women interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) choose from 10 hands-on workshops via Zoom and attend a keynote address by pioneering genetic counselor and Miramonte graduate Franceska Hinkamp.
    “The workshop leaders are successful, engaging professional women in their respective STEM careers who put on a terrific series of hands-on workshops,” said Chris Laszcz-Davis, AAUW member and environmental engineering and public health professional. “In previous years, we held a one-day conference at Saint Mary’s College to rave reviews. Hopefully, next year we’ll be back to some semblance of an in-person event.”
    Open to girls in grades 6, 7 and 8, the STEM conference began registration in early February and continues until full. Each participant attends the keynote speaker’s presentation and two of the 10 workshops.
    Workshops include such topics as the Balloon Car Challenge where girls learn about vehicle design and build a 4-wheel balloon car or Designing Robots for Fun and for Good, which involves building a prototype robotic hand.
    For information about registering for the March 20 conference, go to and scroll down to OML’s virtual STEM conference registration.

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