UCAR Communications

staff notes monthly

May 2003

Building bridges for Latina students

Jasmine Schoonmaker, a senior at Fairview High School, is leaning toward a career in engineering or science. But she’s not sure which options would work best for her.

That’s why she enjoyed the most recent Latinas Building Bridges in Education conference. The event, held at UCAR on 23 April, gave middle and high school Latina girls a chance to pair up with professional women and get a preview of the working world.

Carlye Calvin (Communications), left, discusses photography with two high school students. (Photo by Bob Henson.)

“It’s great to see how much people love their jobs,” Jasmine said as HR’s Nancy Wade introduced her to people in the organization. “I like seeing how people’s personalities match their work.”

Some 58 students signed up for the event. They shadowed their mentors in the workplace and attended workshops on such topics as job interviewing techniques and coping with peer pressure in high school. A luncheon at Center Green featured introductory remarks by NCAR director Tim Killeen in both Spanish and English and a keynote address by Ofelia Miramontes, the vice chancellor for diversity at CU.

This was the third annual conference organized by the Boulder County Latina Women’s League, which seeks to help Latina girls and women with educational and career opportunities. It was the first time UCAR hosted the event.

“We’re doing our share to make sure the girls are being prepared,” says Teresa Rivas of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division, who chairs the league’s conference committee. “We want to emphasize to them that college is within their grasp. The goal is to put the girls in the company of really positive role models—women with established careers—who can tell them about the drawbacks and some of the things to watch for, but above all who can show the girls that they can accomplish this.”

Dorothy Bustamante of the Scientific Computer Division, who co-chaired the event, says she’s received fantastic feedback from students and mentors alike. She is particularly pleased that the middle-school girls who attend the conference often talk about setting their sights on eventually going to college instead of ending their studies to get married and start a family. This is significant, she says, in light of Census Bureau figures indicating Hispanic girls have the highest dropout rate among female students of any ethnic group.

“After they come and hear some of the presenters and go to some of the workshops, they’re saying, ‘Hey, maybe I will stay in school,’” she says.

•David Hosansky

Also in this issue:

In the midnight hour: BAMEX takes aim at dangerous night storms

The long riders: How some staffers cope with epic commutes

Study finds lower atmosphere warming

An information divide

Short takes

Delphi Question: Publications on the Web


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