More than 90 young women, representing more than 20 Chicago-area high schools, gathered on Jan. 25, 2014, to learn about the opportunities open to them in the so-called STEM fields—Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics—as well as in the arts.

The event was arranged by, which is dedicated to improving the professional lives of women of all ages. “For a number of reasons, women are woefully underrepresented in the STEM fields. One way to reverse that is to make young women aware of the opportunities these careers present,” said Ruth Goran, founder and president. “Technology and the sciences are only going to become more important to our world. Women need to be an important part of these fields.”

The young women who attended the event had the chance to sit and speak with several prominent women and men in a variety of fields. They asked questions about how to prepare for and find jobs in these fields. Among those mentoring the young women were Anil Ahuja, president of CCJM Engineering Solutions; Angela Vasandani, general manager at BHS Consulting Corp.; Uri Ratner, president, Nelson Cash; Laura Ralston Slejko, vice president, Claire’s, and Krista Mastroianni, graphic designer, Claire’s.

Other mentors included Rebekah Berry, senior investment consultant, Baird Private Wealth Management; Kali Raoul, president, The Image Studios; Jessica Cox, president, Ceiling Busters; musicians Noah Lande and Charles Dieterle; Laura Alderson, president, Laura Alderson Consulting; Samantha Cordell, student University of Illinois college of Dentistry; and Dr. Knitasha Washington, president, Washington Howard Associates. plans to develop additional such events for young women in the future.

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