Penn State Hazleton faculty, alumni featured as panelists at STEM symposium

HAZLETON, Pa. — Several Penn State Hazleton faculty members and alumni will be featured as panelists beginning this week at an interactive symposium aimed at inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Girl Power in STEM, hosted by Greater Hazleton Partners in Education, encourages professional women in science, technology, engineering and math to share advice and engage with local high school girls who are beginning to explore their educational and career options.

Each day in the series, which begins Tuesday, Nov. 10, will feature speakers and panelists from one of the disciplines that makes up STEM.

“Penn State Hazleton is committed to making a difference in our surrounding communities,” said Elizabeth Wright, associate dean for academic affairs, Penn State’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses and Director of Academic Affairs, Penn State Hazleton. “We are excited for this rewarding opportunity for our faculty to share their experiences and expertise with young students who are enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering and math.”

Barbara Brazon, assistant teaching professor of information, sciences and technology (IST) and IST program coordinator, will be a panelist in the technology session at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.  She’ll by joined on the panel by Madison Polumbo, Penn State class of 2020, an information technology specialist at Cross Valley Federal Credit Union in Wilkes-Barre.

Mesude Bayrakci-Boz, assistant professor of engineering, and Nargess Tahmasbi, assistant professor of IST, will be among the panelists at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in a session focused on engineering. Also featured on the panel is Raiana Nichols, class of 2017, assistant director of operations at Greater Hazleton CAN DO.

Nicole Young, assistant teaching professor of mathematics, will join the math panel at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

“These women are leaders in their fields from our local community and I am excited for them to share their experiences, wisdom and challenges with our local high school students and other women in the community,” said Cathy Colangelo, executive director of Greater Hazleton Partners in Education and organizer of the symposium. “It’s a unique opportunity for young women who may be interested in science, technology, engineering or math to be able to connect with women who are already paving a path in those fields.” 

A final session centered around “Careers of the Future” concludes the series on Thursday, Dec. 3.

To register or to view the full schedule for Girl Power in STEM, visit After the conclusion of the symposium, a recording will be available at