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Westminster professor and student participate in outreach program for girls

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Posted on Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of Westminster’s Center for the Environment, together with senior neuroscience major Olivia Jacobson of Hermitage, Pa., served as mentors for the outreach program “A GEM Affair: Girls Engaging Mentors” on Dec. 14, 2021.

Coordinated by the Lawrence County School-to-Work Program, GEM’s mission is to inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM fields or other non-traditional pathways. This was the second year that the GEM program was held virtually, with  151 ninth grade girls from Ellwood (Lincoln), Laurel, Lawrence County Career & Technical Center, Mohawk, Neshannock, New Castle, Riverside, Union, and Wilmington participating.

Boylan and Jacobson participated as panelists alongside females with careers in pharmacy, accounting, environmental education, and quality engineering. Boylan and Jacobson delivered an interactive presentation and discussed strategies for success in college especially for STEM majors.

“If you want to be a STEM major, you can do it,” Jacobson reassured participants. She also encouraged the girls “to get involved” whether they choose college or employment after high school.

Boylan joined the Westminster faculty in 2001. She earned her undergraduate degree from Westminster and her Ph.D. from Duquesne University.

For more information about the GEM experience, contact Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of the Center for the Environment at 724-946-6293 or