Ron Shipman and June Wood from the Metro South Region Georgia Power Office recently donated $5000 on behalf of Georgia Power to Clayton State University’s Wi2STEM organization, so that students can attend professional conferences in their disciplines. Wi2STEM is a Clayton State University organization created to increase knowledge of, and greater interest in, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. It is also a means of building a network of resources for women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines and a means of communication for women having an interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math majors. Wi2STEM serves students of the Clayton State University community, and the communities surrounding the University. Wi2STEM has grown and continues to take on more initiatives with the full support of Dean of the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS), Dr. Lila Roberts. Professional conferences are meetings of professionals in a given discipline, dealing with matters concerning the status of the discipline, and scientificor technical developments. “Literature points to the fact that when students have the opportunity to attend professional meetings, there is a lasting positive impact. Students understand how their discipline/research fits into a bigger picture. They have a chance to interact with other students, form future collaborations, and build employment prospects, or prospects for graduate school,” says Wi2STEM advisor Mary Hudachek-Buswell who, along with fellow advisor Dr. Yvette Gardner, have put in place a travel grant proposal process and the Georgia Power Travel Grant that is open to all Wi2STEM students. Hudachek-Buswell works with these young women to facilitate their travel preparatory work, and ensure they had successful, productive trips. WI2STEM students Patricia Herron (Atlanta) and Christine Gardner (Peachtree City) were able to travel to conferences in the spring because of the Georgia Power’s support of women in STEM disciplines. Herron attended the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting held in San Francisco, and Gardner attended the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE R3) Region 3 Meeting in Concord, N.C. Herron's travel to ACS was to present research she conducted over the past year under the supervision of Dr. Susan Hornbuckle. Herron's work was accepted to the conference, and she would not have been able to exhibit her research without the Georgia Power Travel Grant. Hornbuckle also attended the ACS meeting with Herron. Gardner's travel to IEEE R3 was to attend conference sessions on power and energy, and the Women in Engineering (WIE) professional development seminar. Gardner networked with WIE, Microsoft and Renasas representatives. Hudachek-Buswell also attended the IEEE R3 meeting with Gardner. Both students will be presenting their experiences in a symposium to held the beginning of the fall 2010 semester. Herron was born in San Diego, and is a resident of Atlanta. She is a junior majoring in Biology with a focus on chemical forensics, member of Wi2STEM, and remains on the Dean's list throughout her demanding coursework. Her career goals include earning a master’s degree in Forensic Science and working as a criminalist for the federal or state government. "Joining Wi2STEM has helped open up a lot of doors for me,” she says. “One of which is the career opportunities on the Clayton State campus. The Georgia Power Travel grant is very important to my work. It will allow me to go to San Francisco, and give a presentation at the American Chemistry Society conference on my research. My work consists of a brief history of Organic Chemistry college textbooks and how they have changed in content from decade to decade beginning in the early 1900’s. Without joining this organization, I may not have used these resources." Gardner is a junior at Clayton State, majoring in Computer Science. She is the treasurer of Wi2STEM, student assistant in the dean of CIMS office, and mother of three. Gardner is a resident of Peachtree City, Ga. "Attending these conferences allowed me the opportunity to experience a 'real world' job interview with a Fortune 500 company. This, in turn, helped me to gauge my strengths and weaknesses which I used to make an action plan for the last years of my education,” she says.”Wi2STEM has had a profound impact on my life. Through this organization I have found academic and professional mentors, leadership roles, outreach and community service opportunities, and friends that I will have for life" Gardner's career goals are to work for a Fortune 500 technology company contributing to the betterment of society. She is the webmaster for Wi2STEM, and has implemented many technology tools for the organization. These two women of WI2STEM greatly appreciate the opportunity that has been handed to them by Georgia Power, and they plan to take full advantage of it. This is a chance for them to learn more about the fields they plan to enter as well as provide them with an experience that would normally be out of reach, notes Hudachek-Buswell. Gardner and Herron want Georgia Power to know they will be good stewards in their disciplines as a result of their travels, she adds.