Dr. Sibrina Collins, director of LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, was a panelist at an event held Thursday, Jan. 12 to get more girls interested in education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM disciplines.
Titled “Launch, Learn and Code: Girls Empowered,” the event was sponsored by the Microsoft store at Somerset Collection in Troy and Avail LLC. Around 100 girls from several Detroit public and charter middle schools attended. Included were the Michigan Technical Academy, MacDowell Prep Academy, Hutchinson Elementary – Middle School, and the Sampson-Webber Academy.
During the day, the girls learned how to build circuits, how to write computer code, and how to dream up new apps.
Collins told the crowd about her experience growing up in Detroit, where she took her first chemistry class as a student at Highland Park Community College. “The classes got harder, but I stuck with it,” she said – eventually earning a master’s and Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio State University and launching into a career as an organometallic chemist.
The panel was moderated by WDIV-TV4 reporter Paula Tutman. Other panelists were Jill Ford, special advisor to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and head of innovation and entrepreneurship for the city of Detroit; Tatiana Woods, a software developer at General Motors; Ashley Jones, a senior at Farmington Hills Mercy High School and captain of its Midnight Storm robotics team; Christen Rochon, publisher and digital lifestyle editor of DivasandDorks.com; and Miesha Williamson, engineer and founder of the STEM Girl Social Network.
Collins was a researcher and chemistry professor before returning to Detroit in 2014 to become director of education at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. She joined Lawrence Tech in July 2016.