ITD hosts Meek as 2018 Girls State participant

On Thursday, June 14, Beth Schiller and I introduced Abiela Meek to the wonderful world of ITD. Abiela, from Idaho Falls, will be entering her senior year of high school this fall. She was visiting ITD as a participant in the Idaho Syringa Girls State Program.

American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship. Since the inception of the Girls State program in 1937, high school girls who have completed their junior year spend an intensive week of study, working together as self-governing citizens, and have the opportunity to learn first-hand how their state and local government works.

Our day began on the front steps of the Idaho Capitol Building. From there, we met up with D3’s Jake Melder for some field experience.  We got to witness D3 Foreman Travis Dodd work with the Settler’s Irrigation District regarding concerns over a sharp curve in the road where the Boise Greenbelt intersects. We were just south of the Connector and east of Orchard Street. It was the perfect opportunity to highlight what our men and women do on a daily basis out in the field.

Our next stop was the Materials Lab here at Headquarters. Our new Central Labs Program Manager, Tracy McGillick, had taken the extra step of working with his team so they would each be ready to demonstrate some of the work they do. Now, unbeknownst to us, Abiela was really interested in science and chemistry, so when she found out about our Materials Lab she was elated. The team put together great real-life demonstrations and it was a huge hit. It also allowed us to emphasize that no matter what your background or skill set is, there is most likely a home somewhere for you here at ITD.

By now, the noon hour had approached and we were ready for lunch. We hosted her in the DMV conference room and the DMV’s very own Jasmine Platt made all of our arrangements and provided the grub. What better way to introduce a young woman to ITD than to have some of our own amazing, female colleagues share their insights and experiences with her.  The lunch group included: myself, Mollie McCarty, Jasmine Platt, Beth Schiller, Pat Carr, Amy Smith, Beverlie Edwards and Jennifer Gonzalez.  Each person took a turn sharing their story and advice. It was extremely impactful and I think we all actually ended up learning more about each other than we expected.

With not much time left in our day, the wonderful and talented Mark Hall took pictures for us in order to commemorate this year’s participant.  We proceeded up to the 2nd floor, where Abiela got some sweet pics sitting behind the Director’s desk as ITD’s “Acting Director.”

This was my fourth year coordinating the hosting of a Girls State participant, and it is truly a great opportunity to bring the real world and academics together. Being part of educating our youth and maybe even inspiring some is a wonderful thing to be part of. Kudos to all who helped make this a very impressionable and unforgettable day!

Published 07-13-18