Shepherd University has received an extension of its public outreach grant from the West Virginia Space Consortium to help put on the third annual Seeding Your Future conference for middle school girls and to continue for a second year monthly science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workshops for high school students.

The $2,970 grant will allow Dr. Sytil Murphy, assistant professor of physics, and Dr. Jordan Mader, assistant professor of chemistry, to more widely publicize the program and to expand the monthly workshops so eighth grade boys and girls can participate.

“Now students who attend the Seeding Your Future conference who are in the eighth grade can immediately transition into the workshop series and keep going with us,” Murphy said. “We love them, we hope they love us, and we hope to see more of them.”

This past school year Murphy and Mader organized eight two-hour monthly workshops that gave high school age students the opportunity to spend time at Shepherd participating in STEM activities. Murphy and Mader are hoping more eighth through 12th grade students will take advantage of the workshops this year, which will include topics like chemistry, robotics, environmental science, physics, math, and biology.

“They get to come for two hours and do something different every month,” Mader said. “Last year we had a lot of repeat attendees who enjoyed doing the different aspects of STEM.”

The Seeding Your Future Conference for girls is scheduled for Saturday, October 29, and is open to 125 girls in grades five through eight. The daylong conference offers the opportunity to meet women who have successful careers in STEM fields and to participate in hand-on workshops.

Seeding Your Future is also supported through a three-year $26,250 grant from WISH (Women Investing in Shepherd), a women’s giving circle that was created in 2014 by the Shepherd University Foundation. The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation and the Shepherd University Chapter of the American Association of University Women have supported this initiative in the past.

There is no charge to attend Seeding Your Future events. Visit for more information.