NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A symposium was held at Southern Connecticut State University on Thursday morning to gather high school students who are interested in careers in STEM.

“Just the chemistry between everything and how everything connects,” said Rhieanna Rubertone, a Hillhouse High School student. “I find it very interesting.”

The symposium aimed to bring professionals and students together to talk about the importance of working in STEM.

“It is very often that I’m the only woman in the room,” said Alexia Kedves, a scientist and co-chair of Young Women in Bio Connecticut. “So, I think there’s a lot of improvement that has happened over the last 10 or 20 years that I have started to feel.”

However, there is still a long way to go.

“We need to educate them, prepare them to do internships, and most importantly, we need to keep them in the state, too,” explained Jodie Gillon, president and CEO of BioCT.

Recently, politicians have said that the future of the New Haven area is biosciences and health sciences. Therefore, it is even more important for local students to study STEM to fill those jobs.

While some of those jobs require college degrees and more, there are a lot of manufacturing careers that young people can start right after high school.

“We hear from employers in all industries, especially technology that there’s just such a lack of people with a knowledge of coding, lack of knowledge when it comes to how to use equipment in manufacturing, and what to do in a lab,” said Joshua Kelly, education manager with Junior Achievement Southwest New England.

The symposium was organized by Junior Achievement of Southwest New England and Women in Bio. The Southern Connecticut State University Innovation Hub sponsored the program. Bio CT gave the keynote address.

“It’s very good for women to go inside different jobs, especially because of the stereotype that’s made around them, so I think education is very important when it comes down to being a woman,” Rubertone said.