Hundreds of eight grade girls gathered at Mt. San Jacinto College’s (MSJC) San Jacinto Campus last week to attend the 20th Annual American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Gorgonio Pass Group, Redlands Branch STEM Conference. During the conference the young women focused on several lessons including the importance of supporting each other, having fun with math and exploring forensic science. The workshops were led by a variety of organizations including the University of California, Riverside; Cal Baptist University, Riverside; San Bernardino Symphony; Cal Poly University, Pomona; University of Redlands; San Bernardino Valley College; Cal Fire; California Department of Justice; Redlands Police; Esri, Redlands; Ameresco Inc.; Sorenson Engineering; and others. Documentary filmmaker and motivational speaker Amber Price was the event’s keynote speaker. During her presentation she encouraged the girls to support each other and encouraged them to have a positive self-image. As part of the day’s events leaders from the private and public sectors provided hands-on workshops that helped the teens explore careers involving the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. MJSC honor students served as guides to make sure the conference attendees made it to each workshop. Commenting about her participation in the conference Layladela Fuente, of Beaumont who attended the conference’s newly added AAUW workshop on Animatronics said, “It was fun because we got to interact with the project.” Fuente who hopes to one day work for Disney doing robotics, shared how the conference inspired her goals. “It encouraged it because I haven’t gotten to work with robots. … It just made it more fun and more interesting.” The event, organized by the AAUW’s San Gorgonio Pass Group of the Redlands Branch and hosted at the San Jacinto Campus by MSJC Outreach, is designed for eighth-graders from middle schools in Banning and Beaumont.