GLEN DALE, W.Va. (WTRF) – John Marshall High School was full of girl power today for their Girl Powered Workshop, where over 140 5th grade female students from Marshall County Elementary Schools came together to get excited about opportunities in STEM related fields. 

This workshop is hosted by the Marshall County Schools Career and Technical Education department, and counselor, Melanie Knutsen, emphasizes why days like these are so important in young girls’ lives. 

”Women are definitely the minority in STEM fields. At this time, they’re growing and they’re really becoming more involved, but I really think it’s important as a woman myself to get young women involved in STEM and science, technology, engineering, mathematics. I have a daughter that’s in engineering. That’s why it’s such an important thing for me.”

Melanie Knutsen – Career Development Counselor, Marshall County Schools

The girls were separated into six groups for mini sessions, where seniors like Emily Druschel, a biomedical science student, got the chance to show them firsthand how exciting STEM activities can be. 

“I feel like some women aren’t confident enough to get into it – like they’re nervous, almost – so, we want to empower them to feel confident and embrace what they enjoy,” said Druschel.

And empowered is definitely the right word to describe this experience for young girls like Sophia Reynolds, who says she feels confident going into her future career in computer programming as a girl.

These mini sessions, sponsored by the REC Foundation, consisted of making lava lamps, tin foil boats, and even seeing how a real, healthy lung works. 

Emily says that she remembers being in these girls’ shoes and can attribute her future aspirations of going into the medical field to activities like this. 

She says standing in front of the younger generation of empowered women is heartwarming. 

“It feels so good. Especially because I want more people around this community to work around here, obviously, and it feels nice to see young women trying and improving every day.”

Emily Druschel – JMHS Senior