Avila Now

November 1, 2018

28th Annual Science and Mathematics Challenge for Young Women Hosted by Avila University

Science and Math Challenge for young women graphic
28th_annual_Math_and_Science_Cha. Artwork by Christie Martin

Avila University hosted their 28th annual Science and Mathematics Competition for Young Women on October 27, 2018. This year Blue Valley North, Leavenworth, Liberty North, Oak Park and in their first appearance, Raytown High and other schools will attend. Begun in 1990, the purpose of the challenge is to encourage young women to study and enter STEM fields.

“I was approached by high school teachers from the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) to create science and math competition for young women that both nurtured success and challenged them at the same time,” said Larry Garrison Sullivan, Ph.D., Dean of Avila’s College of Science and Health. “28 years later, being able to sustain an event such as this not only aligns with Avila mission and values, it encourages young women in our communities to pursue STEM careers.”

The challenge involved 16 multiple-choice questions in six events that teams of three answered. Points were awarded for both accuracy and the speed of the correct answer. “One of the most exciting aspects of this event is seeing how excited these young women are to come to a college campus for the first time and being able to see them up front answering questions,” said Liz Bradish, office manager for the College of Science and Health and organizer of the challenge since 2010.

Erin Sheehy ’17 has been associated with the competition since high school when she was a participant. The event directly influenced her decision to attend Avila and study in the STEM fields. As an Avila biology student, she regularly volunteered for the Challenge and is volunteering again this year as an alum.

 “My high school science and math teachers were the ones who inspired and encouraged me to continually ask questions and seek answers,” said Sheehy. “Every year at the math and science competition, I remember my high school science teacher, Mary Montag, always encouraging us to have fun, learn and build self-confidence.”

The overall winners for the 28th annual Science and Mathematics Competition for Young Women are as follows:

First place: Blue Valley North High School
Second place: Liberty North High School
Third place: Blue Valley High School

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