The 20th annual GEMS Conference will be held later this month at Lewis & Clark Community College and the registration deadline is less than two weeks away. GEMS is the Girls Empowered by Math and Science, and the conference is for girls in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades from schools and districts in Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin and Madison Counties and East St. Louis.  The girls will be enrolled in a program called "Welcome to the Real World” and attend two other workshops of their own choosing.

During the conference, girls will see how the courses they take in high school influence their post secondary options and ultimately their career paths according to Suzanne Lagomarcino of the Alton YWCA. She tells The Big Z that conference is designed with a purpose in mind.


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There will also be special programming for adults this year.  Parents, teachers and other care givers will learn how to support and prepare young girls in their pursuit of an education and possible career in math, science or technology.  All registrations must be completed by March 14th. For registration information, visit

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