Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers

There are many barriers for success that face today’s kids, but especially for girls, who often fight stigmas that still guide today’s societal view of what women should and should not do for a career.

According to Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, a 2012 report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, though, “Women account for about only 20% of the bachelor’s degrees in engineering, computer science, and physics…Regardless of the specific area of STEM, only about 25% of these positions are held by women.”

Breaking Barriers

During the week of March 14th in 2016, the fourth annual Girls Technology Day will help students take that first step into STEM related fields. The event is co-sponsored by the NH Department of Education in partnership with the NH Community College System and the New Hampshire High Tech Council.

“The event will focus on freshmen and sophomore students because that is the age when many students begin focusing on interests that ultimately may become career paths,” said Courtney Ritchings, Education Consultant, Career Development Bureau of the NH Department of Education.

As for the success of prior Girls Technology Days, several students cited an increased awareness regarding the role of stigma in today’s society.

“Girls should be encouraged that the state of being ‘smart’ does not make them appear less attractive,” said Chloe Raymond, Nashua High School North.

Classmate Hannah Dobson added, “To keep girls’ minds open, old stereotypes should not be passed down to future generations.”

According to Ritchings, workshops at this year’s events will enable students to explore diverse topic, including 3D Modeling, Game Programming, App Development for Mobile Devices, Ethernet Cable, Building, and Metrology. Workshops will be led by local educators and industry leaders, such as Autodesk, Lonza Biologics, Hinton Technical Services, Albany Engineered Composites, ReVision Energy and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Citing next year’s event will double in size from this year, Ritchings said its continued growth speaks to a real demand that more students access STEM programming. “This year’s capacity is for 950 young women to attend a ‘STEM-spirational event’ that will expose them to many career and postsecondary opportunities in STEM fields,” she added.

In addition to workshops, students will have the opportunity to attend a vendor fair during their lunch break where they may learn about college options, career opportunities and see more technologies at work.

For past attendees, the event not only introduces new opportunities in STEM related fields, it helps shed light that issues of inequality must be discussed and better addressed in society.

“We need to treat both boys and girls the same from day one,” said Alexandria Baker, Pinkerton Academy. “Tell them that they can be whatever they want.”

Laura Griffin of Pinkerton Academy added, “Former NASA ambassador and actress Nichelle Nichols said, ‘Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everybody’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going.’ More strong women like this need to be shown in the media just like this.”

As far as Ritchings is concerned, it is these kinds of sentiments they hope to foster within participants as well as an understanding as to the kinds of opportunities that exist in STEM related fields.

“This is an exciting opportunity to invest in the futures of these young women as well as the economic vitality of NH,” added Ritchings.

To learn more about Girls Technology Days 2016, visit www.nhgirlstechnologyday.com. If you are interested in becoming an industry partner, contact Ritchings at Courtney.Ritchings@doe.nh.gov or Jennifer Kiley at Jennifer.Kiley@doe.nh.gov.

Dates & Locations

Tuesday, March 15 @ Concord’s Community College in Concord

Wednesday, March 16 @ Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth

Thursday, March 17 @ University of New Hampshire- Durham Campus

Friday, March 18 @ Manchester Community College in Manchester

Chef Ben returns to SST at the Chef’s Table

Chef Ben returns to SST at the Chef’s Table

On November 5, the Seacoast School of Technology (SST) in Exeter held its seventh Chef’s Table, which invites guest chefs from area restaurants to demonstrate how to make some of the dishes for which they are best known. For Principal Margaret Callahan, though, the real story of this particular evening was that their guest chef, Ben Chesley, Executive Chef at the Epoch Restaurant at the Exeter Inn, is a SST Culinary Arts graduate.

“For me and Culinary Arts teacher Jim Collins, it was pretty emotional to tell you the truth,” said Callahan, who noted she saw Ben graduate from SST in 2006. “I can’t tell you how proud we are…To see him when he was a student here and to have him return as a colleague, it was so profound.”

Chef Ben returns to SST at the Chef’s Table

According to Ben, the experience was just as profound for him.

“It was really cool to see how far the school and program has come since my time there,” he said. “The program was just starting out, but they have renovated the kitchen and dining room since I left and created such a great environment for the kids.”

In commenting on his experience at SST and the impact it had on his career, Ben said it gave him a huge leg up on the field. “I was able to focus more on learning more about cooking itself rather than the basics,” he added.

He cited the opportunity to work in a restaurant while at SST as another critical factor to his success. “I had real world experience—that meant a lot,” he said.

What meant a lot to Morgan Leet, a current SST Culinary Arts student, was the opportunity to work alongside as well as speak with Ben at the Chef’s Table.

“Being Ben’s assistant was so incredible,” she said. “It was inspiring to me to see a former student come back and do a demo. It was also a great experience for me to be able to talk with him about his education, knowledge and techniques.”

Fellow Culinary Arts student Marquel Ocasio was also excited to meet Ben, although he acknowledged he was not sure who he exactly was at first.

“Afterwards, I found out he was part of our culinary arts class awhile back and I thought that was pretty cool,” he said. “He really nailed the table and he was very humble about it too. He said he would like to come back anytime to help out or do something like this again and I really hope he does.”

As for what he feels he has learned from his time at SST’s Culinary Arts program, Ocasio cited lessons that go well beyond the kitchen.

“I’m really learning some social elements from class actually—like leadership skills and social skills,” he said. “I’m vice president of my class and I have been put on manager for a few times now, including this event, and it’s quite fun.”

Leet said she also has learned substantially more than just how to cook, as she said she has developed her time management skills, leadership qualities and how to act under pressure. “There is also a great deal of culinary math and science,” she added.

In looking ahead, Ben said he has every intention of returning to SST whenever the need arises and already has worked with Callahan to set some specific dates. He said he will also continue to look for SST Culinart Arts graduates when in need of new hires in his kitchen.

“I have had two graduates from the program become two of my best people,” he said. “I’d compare them with people with 5 years’ experience.”

As for those who may not necessarily be familiar with what happens at Career and Technical Centers in general, Ben said he discovered something at STT that motivated him to learn. To a great extent, he said he found his passion.

“If your kids are struggling, I’d suggest to any parent to have them check out a Career and Technical Center,” he said. “Every kid has potential…career and technical programs help kids test things out.”

One of the biggest things is traditional high school is boring—an they not fnding things to get secited— get people interested to motivate to learn—in didn’t li kth traditional hs experience—I found something I was passonate about—alllowedme to excel—looking at it—check it out—mightfind it is beneficial—if you r kids are struggling—check it out—every kid has great potential—if you not interested—they wont shine like they could—that is what work is al about—these programs give things to test out–great

Also work in a restaurant throygh mr colins—I had schoolinside and real world experience—and nw working in a professional kitchen—2 kids—both gradutes for program—2 of my best people—compare them with people with 5 years experience—had 3 or more people that went through that program— Accoringo

I love having cooperative students and friends as fellow kitchen brigadiers. I also learned the packets that we do are similar to any other restaurants. As i applied one down in Hampton, The Savory Square Bistro. They had me study a packet and read the recipes for their rotating menus, every 6 months. I am happy i have the chance to take such a great class. Thanks for interviewing me hope this helps

Marquel Ocasio Afterwards I found out he was part of our culinary arts class awhile back and i thought that was pretty cool. He really nailed the table and he was very humble about it too. He said he would like to come back anytime to help out or do something like this again and I really hope he does.

as another important compoCollins as anotheras he noted he was able to focus on learning about cooking in school as opposed to the

It was really cool—how far that that school nd program has come—program was just starting—Collins was there—since I left—renovated the kithen and dining room—everything is brand new—amazing to see how much good he has done there—giving kids opportunity to learn in a great environment—it was great to have help from the kids, too

Been back a few times—defintiely neat to have that experience there and help educate kids

First off—give you a huge leg up on the field—professinalism—working in the kitchen—learn basic things—I did go to culinary—hadd a huge advantage there ove rth ekids—focus more on leanring more about cooking—preculinry school

Also work in a restaurant throygh mr colins—I had schoolinside and real world experience—and nw working in a professional kitchen—2 kids—both gradutes for program—2 of my best people—compare them with people with 5 years experience—had 3 or more people that went through that program— when through that program –I value them—people that start off in school have a deep understanding of how it works and a deeper passion—light years

Gotten lot of help from the program—im always looking—for future talent One of the biggest things is traditional high school is boring—an they not fnding things to get secited— get people interested to motivate to learn—in didn’t li kth traditional hs experience—I found something I was passonate about—alllowedme to excel—looking at it—check it out—mightfind it is beneficial—if you r kids are struggling—check it out—every kid has great potential—if you not interested—they wont shine like they could—that is what work is al about—these programs give things to test out–great from Newmarket. .

he or she is best known

for. Culinary Arts Program

Margaret

For me and the culinary arts teacher jim Collins—pretty emtiotonal to tell you the truth—he got choked up—it was so moving—I cant tell you how proud we are—we were here when ben was a student—ben was back as a colleague—it was so profound

Ben graduated in 2006—so young to be an executive chef—he has done so much—started when he was here at SST—he was working at Dominoes Pizza—he was already creative then—got him a job at the green monkey in Portsmouth—in high school on the line

Went to the culinary institute—he became executive

Chef’s table—all programs have an advisory committee—friends of SST Culinary Arts—either work in the culiary world or just love it—and they are great fundraisers

Ben was our 7th guest chef—we do two a year—75 people came to our dinner—works on SS table— made by our welding technology tables—they built it—-he is at center of the room—-2 screens came down from the ceiling—like the food network—look at what going on here

I see in Ben—he has become a very humble person—he was so genuine and sincere and humble—Ben is obviously a great chef and really good standing in fron of people and talking about his craft—he left his kitchen on the first night of restaurant week to be with us

Cousnelor Information Day—he is helping with that—come over on a Tuesday morning—he is a very generous man—even for our students to see someone that young in that position—makes it seem attainable—can I see myself in that person—Ben is right there—and he also came on anumber of occasion to share recipes and check on us along the way

Pretty big sacrifice

Winnecunnet—Mark

Morgan—

It was really cool—how far that that school nd program has come—program was just starting—Collins was there—since I left—renovated the kithen and dining room—everything is brand new—amazing to see how much good he has done there—giving kids opportunity to learn in a great environment—it was great to have help from the kids, too

Been back a few times—defintiely neat to have that experience there and help educate kids

First off—give you a huge leg up on the field—professinalism—working in the kitchen—learn basic things—I did go to culinary—hadd a huge advantage there ove rth ekids—focus more on leanring more about cooking—preculinry school

Also work in a restaurant throygh mr colins—I had schoolinside and real world experience—and nw working in a professional kitchen—2 kids—both gradutes for program—2 of my best people—compare them with people with 5 years experience—had 3 or more people that went through that program— when through that program –I value them—people that start off in school have a deep understanding of how it works and a deeper passion—light years

Gotten lot of help from the program—im always looking—for future talent

One of the biggest things is traditional high school is boring—an they not fnding things to get secited— get people interested to motivate to learn—in didn’t li kth traditional hs experience—I found something I was passonate about—alllowedme to excel—looking at it—check it out—mightfind it is beneficial—if you r kids are struggling—check it out—every kid has great potential—if you not interested—they wont shine like they could—that is what work is al about—these programs give things to test out–great