For the seventh time, girls at Saint Viator who are interested in science came face to face with women actually working in the field.

A pair of teachers from the physics department, Mrs. Jan Grana and Mrs. Cate Majka, led the group of juniors to the 28th annual Science Careers in Search of Women Conference at Argonne National Laboratory.DSC01151

The daylong field trip included a tour of the nation’s first national laboratory, which conducts leading-edge research in virtually every scientific discipline.

By its own description, women at Argonne stand at the forefront of scientific discovery and engineering excellence. They lead multi-disciplinary research projects that range from curing diseases and improving human health to developing sustainable sources of energy while protecting our environment and combating climate change.

Students learned about many of these as they shared lunch with PHD scientists, engineers and researchers, who described their jobs and how they came to enter the science field.

“It was very informative and allowed me to connect with professionals in all science careers,” Olivia Michalik said.

Her classmates agreed.

“It allowed me to see all kinds of careers in science for women that I didn’t even know existed,” Lucy Shiller said.

Caroline McAndrews added that the conference opened many doors for her.

“I was able to learn about all of the different fields in science that women can go in to and the many and varied ways of getting there,” Caroline said.

A highlight of the day was the keynote address given by Carolyn Phillips, a computational scientist in Argonne’s mathematics and computer science division. She called it: “Figuring It Out,” which reflected her journey to becoming a scientist.

“I saw science and math not only as something I could pursue, but something I could be passionate about,” Phillips said. “After (attending a STEM summer camp during high school), I became driven to find my own place in the world of scientific research.”

Paige Smith said she came away from the day with a renewed sense of confidence and purpose.

“This experience gave me a sense of empowerment as a woman considering a career in science,” Paige said.