LYNWOOD, CA. – Future female trailblazers from Lynwood Unified School District got an inside look into the world of STEM and explored potential professions through the District’s Career Technical Education (CTE) programs during the annual Girl STEM Conference, held June 1 at Bateman Hall.

The conference brought together elementary and middle school students from across the District to celebrate female empowerment and hear from women in STEM careers, including biological sciences and nursing.

Lynwood Unified alumna Abi Lopez, a keynote speaker, shared her journey since last attending the Girl STEM Conference in 2015. After working as a legal assistant, software engineer and artificial intelligence instructor, Lopez is now fighting for social justice, supporting local communities in need, and developing human-centered technology.

“Embrace your passions, follow your curiosity, and let your brain shine,” Lopez advised students. “Believe in yourself and know that you are capable of greatness.”

La’Tonya Pettway, Director of Critical Care at St. Francis Medical Center, also brought a powerful energy to the conference, inspiring students to shake off their insecurities, get outside of their comfort zones and feel confident in their skin.

“There are so many opportunities, and the sky is the limit,” Pettway said. “Know that you belong in any room you choose to go into.”

Students also engaged in hands-on activities that ignited their interests in biology, robotics, physics and more.

They took a glance at life through a microscope, learning about the basics of cellular biology and the crucial role it plays in life sciences; took an exciting attempt at engineering and physics during LEGO-building and other creative activities; received an introduction to computer science; and were introduced to marine biology and shark basics while examining skeletal artifacts from the ocean.

The District’s CTE programs, ranging from medicine to culinary arts, have continued to provide Lynwood Unified students with professional skills and experience needed to excel in today’s work force.

“From delving into the depths of the Earth to reaching for the stars, we want our female students to know their options are limitless in this field and they are capable of anything,” Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite, Ph.D. said. “The world is ever-changing, and we strive to inspire our students to be a part of that change. Through STEM, there are no limits to what can be discovered.”

Other speakers included Lynwood Unified alumna Lesly Torres Gonzalez, Dr. Margarita Lopez and research technician Emily Spurgeon. Event partners included St. Francis Medical Center, Cal State Long Beach, Reaction Research, Charles R. Drew University, National College Resources Foundation, Lynwood Alumni Association and the Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation.


LUSD_STEM_1: Lynwood Unified students learn about oceanic life during the Girl STEM Conference on June 1.

LUSD_STEM_2: Lynwood Unified students receive an introduction to biology during the Girl STEM Conference on June 1.