Girls find out about opportunities

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By Don Pace

Arianna Romero and other fifth-graders in the Las Vegas City Schools district were finding out firsthand that girls can do anything in the workforce that boys can do.

“I learned that every job isn’t just for guys; girls can do carpentry and contracting. We can become scientists, archaeologists, biologists and attorneys,” Romero said. “I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up.”

The “Girls Can” program is sponsored by the Las Vegas branch of the American Association of University Women. The nationwide association has 100,000 members strong across the country, and advocates for equity for girls and women in areas like education, health care and non-traditional women’s careers, so that they can begin to consider a variety of possibilities for their own careers. The group also advocates for pay equity.

Girls Can Chairwoman Karyl Lyne said, “One of the things we know is that in order for women to seek a variety of careers is they have to learn about them. The old stereotypical thing is you can be a nurse, a secretary, a teacher or a mom, and that’s it. Of course what we want to do is try to dispel that by introducing young girls to a variety of careers. So the reason for the name Girls Can is that girls can do whatever they decide to do, if they get an education and the proper training.”

Lyne said this is the third year that the Las Vegas branch has been doing the Girls Can program. She said unfortunately the workshop wasn’t held at West Las Vegas this year because of the remodeling at Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary.

“They have kids stuffed in every corner of every room, but are going back next year, and our goal is to provide this program for every fifth-grade girl in both districts. We hold the workshops in April after the testing period,” Lyne said.

AAUW Carol Winkel member said Highlands University provided backpacks stuffed with goodies and Big Brothers, Big Sisters provided the materials used in the various classrooms.

Pharmacist Tera Liddil was taking students through the steps of putting together a training syringe and injecting the medicine into a IV solution.

“Because it’s all women presenting, they can identify with that person and get a feeling of, ‘Yes I can do this too,’” Liddil said.

In other workshops, contractor Robin Carlson and master carpenter Dianne Lindsay were showing girls how to make their own pencil boxes.

Attorney Danelle Smith spoke to girls about the legal profession and the education needed if they wanted to pursue the law as a career. Biologist Carol Linder talked about careers in science and the job she finds so fascinating as she studies the genome system. Archaeologist Susan Swan told students what can be learned from the scientific study of material remains of fossils and relics.