ITTA BENA, Miss.— Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) will host its 21st celebration of Women in Science and Technology (WIST) Conference Friday, March 23.
The conference, themed "STEM Chasers: Raising the Next Generation of Women in Science and Technology” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the William Sutton Administration Building.
The goal of the conference is to inspire middle and high school girls by illustrating that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are exciting, attainable and rewarding. The conference is also designed to help increase STEM awareness and expose students to the educational opportunities available at MVSU.
The keynote speaker for this year’s event will be Dr. Jessica Brownlow Lewis, a native of Itta Bena and alumna of Leflore County High School and Mississippi Valley State University.
“We’re extremely excited about this event because it will expose young females to successful women in the fields of STEM, such as obstetricians and gynecologists, family nurse practitioners, professors, biologists, entrepreneurs and many more,” said Dr. Latonya Garner, chair of the Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences department.
With over 300 young ladies expected to attend the conference from school districts across Mississippi Delta, the conference will have the opportunity to make a lasting impression.
“We hope this conference will improve young females’ attitudes about STEM and increase their interest in MVSU,” Garner said.
As Little Miss MVSU 1994-1995, Miss Leflore County High School 2009, Miss Black and Gold 2010-2011, and Miss Mississippi Valley State University 2012, Lewis is no stranger to serving her community.
Completing several college courses through MVSU's Dual Enrollment Program, Lewis entered MVSU in the fall of 2010 as a sophomore biology student. Although she became involved in several organizations at MVSU, including WIST, academics were always her top priority. Lewis graduated in three years as magna cum laude in May 2013.
Upon graduating from MVSU, Lewis had plans of attending physical therapy school; however, due to requirement complexities, this aspiration was deferred. She moved to Memphis, where she taught physical science for one year at Raleigh Egypt High School.
Quickly realizing that "Plan B" was not for her at this stage in life, Lewis made an unwavering effort to fulfill all requirements and be accepted into physical therapy school.
Lewis began physical therapy school in August 2014 and was hooded "Dr. Jessica Brownlow, PT, DPT" in May 2017.
She is currently licensed in the state of Tennessee and employed as an inpatient rehabilitation physical therapist. She finds joy in helping patients and families learn to function after life-altering traumas.
Other presenters for the conference are Dr. Rachel Beecham, Mrs. Karolyn Bridges-Jordan, Mrs. Mary Crump, Dr. Nora Gough-Davis, Dr. Nneka Okezie Okeh, Dr. Manju Pande, Ms. Sabrina Phillips, Ms. Clara T. Reed, Mrs. Margaret Reynolds, Dr. Hattie Spencer, Dr. Candace Carter Stevens, Dr. Stacy White, and Mrs. LaNeidra Williams.
For questions or more information, contact Dr. Earlean Anderson, director of academic support for STEM departments, at (662) 254-3638.