Gift will allow expansion of science program for women at YSU

By Denise Dick


Youngstown State University’s Women in Science and Engineering Career Day will be expanded through a $100,000 donation from the Edward W. Powers Charitable Fund.

YSU announced the gift Wednesday in the thermodynamics laboratory inside Moser Hall. The 15th annual event will be March 3 at YSU.

“The name of the event will be changed to the Edward W. Powers Women in Science and Engineering Career Day,” YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson said, thanking the Powers family. “This is a program that has been very successful.”

Catherine Powers, the great-niece of Edward W. Powers, said her great-uncle and his wife were committed to education. She said she’s pleased that the charitable fund is able to contribute to such an important program.

The Women in Science and Engineering Career Day started in 1997 to help expose young women in sixth through 12th grades to career opportunities and female role models in the science and engineering fields.

“Traditionally, women have been under-represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, but that’s not because of a lack of education,” said Diana Fagan, professor of biological sciences and the event’s director.

Female students score just as well as their male counterparts on tests like the ACT and SAT.

“The reason we don’t have more women in the fields is because they don’t have role models to learn from,” she said.

WISE brings those positive female role models to young women.

General Motors, Delphi, area hospitals, veterinary and dental offices and Northeast Ohio Medical University are among the businesses and industries represented.

Fagan said the event attracts between 100 and 140 girls each year from schools in Mahoning and Trumbull counties and western Pennsylvania.

Panel discussions will be conducted during the morning and hands-on activities and lab demonstrations will take place in the afternoon in Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus.

This year’s speaker is astronomer, writer and podcaster Pamela Gay. She is an assistant research professor of graduate studies and research at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and executive director of the Astrosphere New Media Association.

Through the Powers Foundation donation, the WISE speaker will also make a presentation that will be open to the public.

Edward W. Powers, born in 1896 in the city, graduated from The Rayen School and studied economics at the University of Wisconsin. He served in the Navy during World War I and took over the family jewelry store when his father died in 1932. He became a partner and stockbroker at Butler Wick and became known by many as “Mr. IBM” because of his investment in the company.

The charitable fund, now at PNC, started in 1967. The following year, Powers gave $250,000 to the Youngstown Symphony Society to buy the old Warner Theater downtown, according to the university.

The auditorium was renamed Powers Auditorium and remains the symphony’s home.

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