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Women’s Empowerment event to emphasize career options for girls

Lily Baumgardner is hosting a Women’s Empowerment event for female students.
Ethan Green
Lily Baumgardner is hosting a Women’s Empowerment event for female students.

As she started thinking about scheduling classes for next school year, eighth-grader Lily Baumgardner thought about her future, and she realized that other female students were probably doing the same thing.

“It’s so stressful, and it seems so big, and it’s just all these different options,” Baumgardner said. “I feel like if you hear it from an actual person who’s been through it, it’s so much more beneficial.”

So Baumgardner created a Women’s Empowerment event in which women working in professional careers will help female students in grades 7-12 brainstorm about what they want to do when they are older.

The event will take place throughout the day Monday in LGI.

Among the professionals scheduled to participate are lawyers during third period, physicians during fourth period, psychologists during fifth period, educators during seventh period, and KDKA news anchor Heather Abraham and 100.7 Star Pittsburgh radio host Kelly Dzanaj during eighth period.

Baumgardner said she hopes the event will help girls feel more confident about the future.

“I really want girls to just think about what they want to do with their lives,” she said.

Middle school history teacher Anthony Barbano talked to Baumgardner about planning an event like this in the fall. 

“She mentioned something along the lines of a women’s event, and I challenged her in the fall to put together something for Women’s History Month,” Barbano said. “The experience she will gain from organizing and hosting this event will be incredibly valuable.”

Barbano was a gifted teacher last school year and saw the many opportunities young people will have for careers.

“My eyes were opened up to the expansive career opportunities available in the Pittsburgh area. I think that this event will show our girls the many options they will have in the workforce outside of their normal realm of thought,” Barbano said. “With the ever-evolving world around us, the sky’s the limit for future job opportunities.”

Gifted teacher Daniel Shaner agreed with Barbano.

“I think that we tend to limit our choices way more than we should,” Shaner said. “One of the things that I stress with all of my students is that there are so many doors open to you at this age, and there’s so many different opportunities out there in the world for you. Unless you actually explore what all those are, you may be setting yourself up to lose opportunities that are available for you.”

Baumgardner’s mom, Amy Baumgardner, works as a director of STEAM at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and will be speaking during the event on Monday. She will tell students that it is never too late to try things and that making mistakes is okay.

“You truly can do anything. You can change your mind, and you can (and should) make mistakes,” Amy Baumgardner said. “Your career is forever changing and growing. Once you meet one goal, there is another to be excited about for the future.”

Baumgardner helped her daughter get contact information for each presenter.

“I shared with Lily the names and email addresses of some of the incredible women I have met along the way,” Baumgardner said. “I helped her to edit and revise emails, but truly, she has taken this on as her own.”

In Lily Baumgardner’s free time, she participates in the Leadership through Innovation in Genocide and Human Rights Teaching (LIGHT) Club, student council, and the middle school basketball team. She is also involved in theater in the community and the school. 

Baumgardner also participates in the gifted program. Earlier this school year, she participated in the Shakespeare Monologue competition at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, where she received an honorable mention.

For Baumgardner’s recent birthday, she asked her mom to go to Barnes & Noble to record a TikTok video of her browsing the store for five minutes and taking three minutes to buy books. She had no basket and had to carry the books with her hand. Because this was a viral trend on TikTok, many people in the store recognized what she was doing and were voicing support.

The video went viral on TikTok, and because of the attention the video was getting, she and her mom were invited to speak on KDKA’s talk show Talk Pittsburgh. 

“It was super fun to watch, especially since other people in the store had heard about the trend and were cheering her on,” Amy Baumgardner said.

As for Monday’s Women’s Empowerment event, Barbano is excited about it.

“Events like this help bring equality and shrink the gap between gender norms,” Barbano said. “I could not be more happy with how the BW Community is embracing this event.”

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About the Contributors
Ethan Green
Ethan Green, Staff Writer
Freshman Ethan Green is a first-year Staff Writer. When he is not playing Rocket League for esports, you can find him singing for Baldwinaires, watching TV, and hanging out with friends and family. 
Zander Vecchione
Zander Vecchione, Staff Writer
Freshman Zander Vecchione is a first-year Staff Writer. He can be found listening to music or watching movies.
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    Priore MaryAnnMar 17, 2024 at 10:01 am

    well done Lily! what an excellent idea you came up with. I had no idea way back when i was your age and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

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