High School District 211 will host its tenth annual GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science) Conference for 5th and 6th grade girls in School Districts 15 and 54, and private schools within the District 211 attendance area. The conference will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at James B. Conant High School (700 E. Cougar Trail in Hoffman Estates) from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The goal is to educate girls about careers in these fields, and introduce them to female role models from the industry and those working in District 211’s five high schools.

    Girls will learn about careers in engineering, math, and science by actively participating in hands-on sessions. These activities will be taught by women in fields such as structural design, polymers, technology, geology, and mathematics. Some of the presenters include women from the American Chemical Society, Baxter Healthcare, Northrup-Grumman, and Cast Metals Institute. Participating girls also will receive a goody bag full of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) information.

    The conference begins with a Career Expo, featuring booths where families can learn more about STEM-related careers, including the necessary skills girls need to be successful at the high school and college level. At 9:00 a.m., girls will go to their hands-on sessions until noon. Parents should return to the Conant High School Cafeteria at noon to meet their daughters and attend the closing event of the conference. The event will conclude at 12:30 p.m.

    Raffle prizes will be given away during the conference’s closing remarks. These prizes, along with goody bags for the girls attending, were generously donated by organizations that include John G. Shedd Aquarium, The Scope Shoppe, Wards, American Chemical Society, Carolina Biological Supply, Thermo-Fisher, and Pearson Prentice Hall.


    Want to get involved?
    The GEMS planning committee is asking parents if they know of a female working in engineering, math, or science who would be a great role model for young girls and is interested in creating a 30-minute session to get girls excited about a STEM field.  The committee also is asking if parents know of a company or an individual willing to donate STEM-related games, door prizes, trinkets, or equipment for fifth and sixth grade girls that could be used at the annual GEMS event.  If so, please contact Dr. Lisa Small ( or Sharon McCoy (