Girls get a taste of nontraditional fields at trades day

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Oct 20, 2017
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds Molly Blemaster, an eighth-grader at Hope Elementary School, attends the Totally Trades day at MidCoast School of Technology Oct. 20. She said she likes helping her dad with carpentry projects at home.

Rockland — The message of the day was: Girls can.

More than 100 eighth- and ninth-grade girls from nine local schools learned about fields from carpentry to emergency medicine, machining to computer-aided design to auto body repair during Totally Trades Day at MidCoast School of Technology Oct. 20. There were no regular classes for the day, but a number of students volunteered as helpers for the day.

Sponsored by New Ventures Maine, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Education's Career and Technical Education Bureau, Totally Trades introduces girls to careers, many of which have traditionally been dominated by men, they may not have thought about before. MCST Director Beth Fisher said the school had previously offered Totally Trades to high school girls, but wanted to reach younger students this year. She added that studies have shown that getting girls involved with science, technology, engineering and math -- the so-called STEM disciplines -- earlier results in greater receptivity to these fields on the part of girls.

The half-day program began with a welcome from Fisher, then girls went to the first of two workshops they had signed up for ahead of time. Workshops covered subjects including emergency medicine, fire science, machining, carpentry, auto body repair, auto tech, computer design, health sciences, hospitality, marine technology and more. The sessions allowed girls to experience an aspect of the profession through a practical exercise. After the second workshop, girls went either to lunch or to one of three panel discussions with working professionals talking about what they do. The panels were in the areas of trades, medicine and technology, and each one had two sessions.

Hope Elementary School eighth-grader Molly Blemaster said she wanted to come to Totally Trades because she thought it would be interesting. She said her father is a carpenter and she helps him with carpentry projects around the house. She attended the machine tool and welding workshops and said she was considering coming to MCST as a high school student.

During lunch, three Oceanside Middle School students discussed they had liked so far about the program. Maddy Gibbs said she came because Totally Trades sounded like fun and was a good opportunity. She said she was interested in the culinary program, but had also attended the machine tool workshop. About that, she said, "It was fun. Lots of geometry."

Cadence Lamkins said she wanted to try new things and liked the fact that Totally Trades was hands-on and she could make something to take home with her..

Alaina Myers went to the CNA and pastry workshops, having failed to get into the marine technology workshop, which she had hoped to attend. She said she was interested in the marine technology and culinary programs at MCST.

Jean Dempster, New Ventures' workforce program manager, said New Ventures, formerly the Office of Women, Work and Community, had sponsored the Totally Trades program at vocational schools across Maine for 15 years. She noted that DOT supports the program because it hopes to attract new employees.

Schools taking part in the day were Appleton Village School, Camden Hills Regional High School, Camden Rockport Middle School, Hope Elementary School, Medomak Middle School, Medomak Valley High School, Oceanside Middle School, Oceanside High School and St. George School.

Veronica Kaluta, right, an eighth-grader at Oceanside Middle School, takes part in a machining project with the help of a student volunteer during Totally Trades Day at MidCoast School of Technology Oct. 20. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Teacher Danica Wooster, center, explains an auto body repair project to eighth- and ninth-grade girls during Totally Trades Day at MidCoast School of Technology. More than 100 girls attended the half-day program. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Medomak Valley High School students Emma Colson, left, and Reagan Wadford work on their mud boards during the auto body repair workshop Oct. 20. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Students participate in a machining workshop taught by a student volunteer, at left, during Totally Trades Day at MidCoast School of Technology Oct. 20. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Medomak Middle School eighth-graders Shyla Waltz, left, and Taylor Cox make bananas Foster in a culinary workshop during Totally Trades Day Oct. 20. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Medomak Valley High School student Emma Kunesh listens to a "patient's" chest in an EMT workshop Oct. 20 during Totally Trades Day at MidCoast School of Technology. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Clockwise from bottom right, Oceanside Middle School students Cadence Lamkins, Maddy Gibbs and Alaina Myers are joined at lunch by Hope Elementary School Principal Danielle Fagonde. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Carol Hathorne | Oct 23, 2017 13:09

What a great idea!

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 20, 2017 16:22

Great pictures! And a good subject that girls can do anything they try to do. Not just a woman's world, or a Man's world, just equal Interests.

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