AAUW: Women who help women break barriers

Despite major social progress since 1881, women are still the minority in certain fields of math and science. Since then, one group has worked to change that.

The American Association of University Woman (AAUW) has worked for more than 125 years, since its inception in 1881, to encourage women to enter fields of math, science and, more recently, technology.

Federal Way has its own branch — and members have been busy.

They just finished one of the annual events, bringing more than 300 girls to Highline Community College for "Expanding Your Horizons." The event lets girls go to the college and visit programs they might be interested in, programs that are typically in male-dominated fields like engineering and firefighting. The girls meet role models and spark some interest, AAUW member Karen Wheeler said. About 100 girls from the Federal Way schools participated, she added.

Next up is AAUW's annual breakfast, which honors two girls from each of the Federal Way schools. These girls have so far excelled in math, science and technology, and have exhibited leadership and athletic skills .

On April 10, the girls and their families and guests will be honored at the event, with some small tokens and encouraged to continue on their path, said Wheeler, co-chair for the event.

This year's guest speaker is Diane Turner, current communications director for Federal Way Public Schools.

"She was very excited about participating," Wheeler said. "She has a very interesting background. We are expecting her to commend and encourage the girls."

The event has been going on for as long as Wheeler can remember. She has been a part of the group for 10 years. In addition to these two events, they have several meetings a year.

Nationally AAUW has more than 100,000 members, with 1,000 branches and partnerships with 500 colleges and universities.

This year's winners

Decatur High School: Yunee Ham, Audriana Mooth

Federal Way High School: Katherine Madonna, Kaia Barth

Thomas Jefferson High School: Jill Mayer, Stephanie Reagle

Todd Beamer High School: Laura Lopez, Kayla Euker

Truman High School: Alicia Jarrett, Nancy Vazquez

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