Keystone Science School Girls in STEM: Snow Safety & Snow Science
Posted: Jan 25th, 2019
Keystone, Colorado: January 3, 2019 – Females are currently underrepresented in several career fields. It’s commonly known that there is a large gender gap in computer science and engineering. One field not currently on the national radar is snow safety and snow science. Living in a resort community snow sports is not just a way of life but also a career for many. When looking at the top ski patrols and snow safety professionals you’ll be hard pressed to find females working in the field.
During the February 8-10th Girls in STEM program, girls will learn about snow science and a wide variety of careers within snow safety and snow science. The program is open to any girl currently in 3rd-8th grade. Participating girls will be first learning how to cross country ski which will turn into their mode of transportation for the remainder of the weekend. They will then learn about many aspects of snow science including the many forms of snow grains, snow metamorphosis, and the many layers within our snowpack. Girls will be digging snow pits and learning how to analyze the snowpack by identifying layers and all the variables which create a stable or unstable snow pack such as the slope, aspect, and different weather events which have influenced the snow pack.
“Females are incredibly important in snow science and safety fields because careers such as ski patrollers and avalanche mitigation are traditionally very male dominated. These jobs are very physically demanding, can require extended periods of time in extreme weather, and need specific education and/or certifications. I think it’s incredibly important for girls to “see themselves” in our professional mentors, so they know that their options are unlimited as they continue their education and eventually build their careers.”
-Carrie Scheick, Keystone Science School Program Coordinator
Throughout the weekend, girls will also learn about careers within snow safety and snow science from female professionals working in the field known to the program as STEM Mentors. Keystone Science School is partnering with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and featured STEM Mentor is Lindsay Wiebold, who is on the Arapahoe Basin Ski Patrol. The program will also be supported by ski area snow safety technicians, and member from a local avalanche dog team. These STEM Mentors are the corner stone of the program because girls won’t just learn about various professions but also the barriers each STEM Mentor experienced when entering the field. The barriers can be gender based through their educational and professional experience but also any other limiting factor and how each individual STEM mentor handled that barrier.