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Defining Your Path Conference Prepares 8th Grade Girls for Success

October 1, 2008 On October 25, eighth-grade girls from around the state will explore possible career paths in arts, business, technology, writing, science, engineering, law, and more at the fifth annual “Defining Your Path” conference, presented by Youth Education at The University of Utah and the American Association of University Women (Salt Lake City branch).  The conference will help students realize their potential by investigating options for future careers.  Presenters will help attendees identify their paths by boosting awareness of their interests, personality, motivation, and academic abilities.

The Saturday morning event takes place on the University of Utah Campus, in Orson Spencer Hall, from 8:00 am to 12:15 pm, on Saturday October 25, with a concurrent conference for adults. The conference will open with a keynote speech, “The Meaning and Importance of Our Stories: From Girls to Women,” presented by Dr. Theresa Martinez, University of Utah Assistant Vice President for Academic Outreach and Associate Professor of Sociology. Dr. Martinez will share biographical experiences from her upbringing in New Mexico that were the backdrop for her growth as a person and later as a professor of sociology.  The closing panel, “We Did It, You Can Too!” will feature women who are current college students and several who have earned their degree. They will share stories of how they got to college and remained successful and motivated. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions about their experiences.

Students will then attend two smaller breakout sessions of their choice:  Banking on Your Future (finance), Defining a Path Towards a Career in Science, The Power of Pathways:  College Preparation 101, Understanding Yourself:  Focusing on Your Strengths and Potential, Is Law School for You?, The Physician Scientist-From the Bedside to the Lab Bench and Back Again:  The Art of Juggling, Integrating Art and Computers, Writing that Makes You Laugh, Cry, and Gasp-Make Boring Writing Exciting and Fun to Read!, or The Impact of Engineering on Our Lives. The breakout sessions will be moderated by leading women professionals in each field, as well as college students studying in these areas.  Detailed descriptions of each breakout session, as well as bios of each presenter, are posted online at

Two workshops are available for parents and guardians:  Understanding Yourself: Focusing on Your Strengths and Potential, led by Gail Bock, retired educator and curriculum director, and Preparing for College: Choosing Coursework, Community Involvement, Scholarships, and Financial Aid, led by Martina Stewart, Associate Director of University College and Coordinator of Freshman Advising at The University of Utah.

“This is the fifth year we’ve offered this conference, and it just gets stronger each year. The breakout sessions will really help 8th grade girls focus on identifying career paths that match their attitudes, interests, personality, and academic abilities. This is an incredible opportunity to interact with inspiring professionals and other young women who are real mentors when it comes to defining the path to college success.” says Claire Turner, Director of the Youth Education program at The U.

Interested 8th graders should register by October 17.  Registration is available online at, or by printing and mailing the registration forms found online.  The cost is $10 per 8th grade attendee and $5 per adult. A limited number of scholarships are available on a first-received, first-served basis to students who quality for Free and Reduced Lunch.  Scholarship forms are available at with the registration information. For questions, please call Youth Education at the U at (801) 581-6984 or

This conference is sponsored by the American Association of University Women (Salt Lake City branch) and Youth Education at the University of Utah, which is part of the division of Continuing Education.  The program offers classes and day camps year-round that offer preschool through high school-aged children endless possibilities to meet new friends, explore their interests, and develop their talents through high-quality, hands-on personal enrichment and academic education.  More information about Youth Education at the University of Utah may be obtained by calling 801-581-6984 or by visiting