November 12, 2015

Science-math conference; ‘InnovateHER’ set at SIU

Two events in the next few days may be of interest to reporters, photographers and news crews covering Southern Illinois University Carbondale 

Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics: The 25th annual conference is set for Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Student Center and other campus locations.  This event provides girls in grades 5-9 with workshops, networking and hands-on experiences aimed at increasing their awareness of careers in such areas as science, mathematics, technology and engineering.

It also provides young women with opportunities to meet and interact with role models who are active in math- and science-related careers. Organizers expect up to 120 participants this year, along with teachers and parents from throughout Southern Illinois. 

Organized by the Department of Mathematics in the College of Science, the conference also will feature more than 30 professionals from the university, surrounding community colleges and private companies donating their time to lead workshops. The workshops will focus on career exploration and also provide opportunities for participants to have positive experiences with math and science. 

Check-in runs 8:45-9:15 a.m. the day of the event. The program begins at 9:15 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Co-chairs of the event are Mary Wright and Kathleen Pericak-Spector, professors of mathematics.  For more information call 618/453-5302. 

InnovateHER Challenge: The first round of this competition is set for Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale. 

The competition, which is open to the public, is part of a national contest seeking the most innovative products and services designed specifically to have a positive impact on the lives of women and families. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU is hosting the first-round competition, which features a prize package that includes cash and professional business consulting services. The prize package includes marketing, design, branding, digital marketing and legal consultation services provided by Sharon Reynolds-Haege of S2K Marketing, Tom Harness of Harness Digital Marketing and Angela M. Povolish of Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan law firm. In addition, there will be $500 cash prizes from Champion Community Investments and the SIU Credit Union along with financial consultations from both. 

The winner also advances to the semi-final round of the contest. The top 10 finalists from around the country will compete in Washington, D.C., at the InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit on March 16-17, 2016. At the national level, contestants will vie for $70,000 in prize money from Microsoft. 

During SIU’s InnovateHER Challenge, the contestants will each present a short “pitch” for his or her business or product. A panel comprised of local entrepreneurs and regional stakeholders will judge the competition. Members of the media are welcome to cover the presentations and the winner’s announcement that will follow. 

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Administration and hosted by SIU. For more information about the InnovateHER Challenge, visit, call 618/453-2424 or email