Eight-year-old Laura Kettlewood likes science.
When she grows up, the Silver Lake Elementary School second grader said that she wants to be a veterinarian for cheetahs.
But the coolest thing for her Thursday night was the entomologist – because she is also interested in bugs and insects.
On Nov. 29, more than 400 girls from across the Appoquinimink School District filled the auditorium at Bunker Hill Elementary School for the W.I.S.E. Women Event.
"Laura is smart and I want her to stay empowered," Maggie Kettlewood, Laura's mother, said. "She has been interested in math and science her whole life."
The event highlights math and science careers for girls and gets them excited, said Bunker Hill librarian Susan Austin.
Saundra Green came with her daughters, Kara, 12, and Simone, 10, Thursday.
"I was an undergrad physics major and my husband is a chemist," she said. "It shows the girls it's ok to like math and science and be a girl."
The Women in Science and Engineering event was meant to get girls interested in math and science and give them a chance to see female role models in those fields, Austin said.
"Studies show that girls don't excel in those areas as much and we want to encourage confidence and excitement," Austin said.
The girls, who ranged from kindergarten to 12th grade, were encouraged to bring a female role model with them.
"This special event, now in its second year, is designed to show girls, who continue to be underrepresented in STEM careers, that science and math are part of everyday life no matter what line of work you choose," said district spokeswoman Lilian Miles.
In its pilot year last year, W.I.S.E Women was only open to students in some of the schools. This year, it was open to everyone.
Brick Mill Elementary School Library Media Specialist Janice Haney is the program's founder.
Haney's background is in math and science and she saw that girls in the school district needed a free event.
The boys do "Real Men Read," so she came up with the idea of W.I.S.E Women last year to provide a free event for the girls.
"It's important to show the girls the careers they can do," Haney said.
The event's keynote speaker, First Officer Gabrielle Harding, a Continental Airlines Pilot, told the girls that the United States has a high demand for science and math graduates.
"It's important for young women to enter these fields," Harding said.
In the United States, only 13.4 percent of engineers are females. Females also only make up about 13 percent of those in science careers, she said.
Page 2 of 2 - "There are not enough women in science and engineering," Maggie Kettlewood said.
Thursday night's presenters included a forensic chemist, a geologist, an engineer, an architect, an ecologist, an entomologist, an ornithologist, a Hawaiian Seabird specialist, and a health informatics specialist.
During her speech Harding asked that all of the girls between 5- and 21-years old to stand up.
She told them to yell, "Dream big!"
The girls yelled it.
It wasn't loud enough though, so she had them shout it again.