Last Saturday we hosted 250 or more 6th grade girls on campus for a 4 hour event called "Girls Can". The event is planned and organized by the local chapter of the American Associate of University Women. The purpose is to encourage girls to think about careers in STEM fields and to realize that many careers and opportunities are available to them. Simultaneously AAUW hosts the family members of these girls to share information about how to begin preparing for college in middle school and what to expect from "adolescence".
The event is particularly important to me. Sharing with 6th graders and their parents about what opportunities exist is very important. I believe if a middle and high school student has a goal - a big goal, a career goal - if you will, they are more likely to stay in school and graduate with their high school diploma. Certainly these are prospective students for us in the future. But more idealistically, these young ladies have the potential to fill important jobs in our workforce. Among them could be the next governor of New Mexico or the nurse who takes care of a family member.
A knowledgeable king once said, "Without a vision the people will perish". I believe that hope is a powerful thing. I also believe that by helping our young people see a range of possible careers that they may begin to dream and believe.