Executives from Amazon, Google, Facebook and other major technology companies will meet with female students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics Wednesday morning, as one of a series of roundtables hosted by the House Republican Conference and its chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.)
The event is aimed at promoting the accomplishments of notable women in STEM fields, and encouraging more women to embark on similar career paths.
Among those scheduled to attend are Megan Smith, vice president of Google’s X moonshot division; Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector for Amazon Web Services; Donna Harris, co-founder of the D.C.-based 1776; executives from major firms such as Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Yahoo/Tumblr and SAP; and chief executives from a number of smaller technology and science firms.
They will be joined by five high-school and rising college students from around the country who have done impressive research in a STEM field. Four of them have applied their skills to medical research.
Britanny Michelle Wegner, a Sarasota, Fla., native who will start at Duke University this year, has created a service that aggregates data from a type of breast cancer biopsy called a “fine-needle aspiration process” that allows biopsies to be taken without surgery. Naomi Shah of Portland, Ore., who will attend Stanford University this fall, is examining the effects of air quality on lung health. Lauren Hodge, of York, Pa., a rising freshman at Carnegie Mellon University, researched the effect that marinade ingredients had on the level of carcinogens in grilled chicken. Lizzy Zhao, a high-schooler in West Linn, Ore., has developed a computer algorithm that scans moles to determine if they are cancerous. And Valerie Ding, a high school junior from Portland, Ore., has won numerous awards in math and science, including from the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.
“I’m excited to bring together this talented and impressive group of women for an important dialogue about the future of women in science and technology,” said McMorris Rodgers said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I am confident that our discussion will highlight the many ways we can encourage women to pursue STEM careers – and the innovation and jobs that will result from more women joining those fields. The opportunities for women in this country are limitless, and I’m proud to bring together a group of leaders that reflects just that.”