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Army Research Laboratory and Battelle Hold Workshop for Girls, Women in STEM

Posted on Dec 1, 2011

ABERDEEN, MD. 1 December, 2011 – The inaugural Young Women in Science and Engineering (YWISE) College and Career Workshop today drew 50 students who spent time interacting with accomplished female scientists who shared advice, tips and life lessons. The event was sponsored by Dr. Melanie Will-Cole, an Army Research Laboratory (ARL) senior research scientist and Fellow and was held at the Battelle Conference Center, 1204 Technology Drive, Aberdeen, MD.

The first-of-its-kind event offered high school girls attending The Science and Math Academy (SMA) at Aberdeen High School unprecedented access to successful women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The workshop was designed to facilitate candid discussions on trends, obstacles and opportunities for women in STEM fields. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation, women constitute 46.5 percent of the U.S. workforce but hold just 25 percent of math and computer science jobs and 11 percent of engineering jobs. 

Cole said the inspiration behind the workshop is her daughter Alex, a senior at SMA. “Over the last several years I watched Alex and her girlfriends grow into budding young scientists who learned to question, analyze, hypothesize, and conceptually understand the fields of science, math and engineering,” she said. “Although these SMA girls are exposed to science and engineering research via their SRT (science research and technology, which they take every year) classes and capstone senior thesis, I felt something was missing.”

Janice Rhodes, who has worked at Battelle for 20 years and is Manager of ID/IQ programs, is a lifelong Aberdeen resident and a graduate of Aberdeen High School. “When I went to Aberdeen the focus was not on math and science for women,” she said. “The young ladies who attended really connected with the speakers. It’s one of the few programs I’ve seen where these promising young students have a chance to interact with professionals in science and technology fields. I think that’s been the missing ingredient.”

Speakers included Dr. Amy Bodycott, Associate Veterinarian from the Churchville Veterinary Clinic and Swan Creek Veterinary Clinic in Harford County; Dr. Nina M. Lamba, President & Chief Scientist of CCL Biomedical, Inc. in Havre de Grace; Dr. Leslie Lamberson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The John Hopkins University and Assistant Professor at Drexel University; Dr. Kathleen Meier-Hellstern, Executive Director of AT&T Government Solutions from Middletown, NJ; and Dr. Amy Lafreniere, Senior Public Health Analyst in Battelle’s  National Security Emergency Management  group, Baltimore. ARL’s Dr. Cole also spoke during the workshop. 

Speakers presented vignettes on their careers and personal lives during the workshop, which also incorporated a couple of mixers designed to engage girls and women in open, frank discussions.

Battelle’s Dean Ertwine, a retired Army Brigadier General, said, “Battelle has a long history of supporting STEM education in Harford County and in Maryland, including support for the Science and Math Academy since its inception. At Battelle we believe that involvement with day-to-day science education at local schools is critical to development of the next generation STEM workforce.”

About Battelle

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses:  Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. 

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

About ARL

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) of the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is the Army's corporate, or central, laboratory. Its diverse assortment of unique facilities and dedicated workforce of government and private sector partners make up the largest source of world-class integrated research and analysis in the Army.  By combining its in-house technical expertise with those from academic and industry partners, ARL is able to maximize each dollar invested to provide the best technologies for our Soldiers. ARL's program consists of basic and applied research and survivability/lethality and human factors analysis. ARL also applies the extensive research and analysis tools developed in its direct mission program to support ongoing development and acquisition programs in the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Centers (RDECs), Program Executive Offices (PEOs)/Program Manager (PM) Offices, and Industry. ARL has consistently provided the enabling technologies in many of the Army's most important weapons systems.

About the Science and Mathematics Academy 

The Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School is a school-within-a school magnet program that provides academically talented students with educational experiences that integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics beyond the traditional advanced program. Admission to this rigorous four-year program is by competitive application based on prior academic success, interest and motivation in science and mathematics, teacher recommendations and written communication skills. Each year hundreds of students apply for the 55 seats in the freshman class. Entering students must be ready for Algebra II as an entry level mathematics class, having completed courses in Algebra I and geometry prior to high school.

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or


Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544