Let's hear it for the girls — the girls in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field that is.
Girls took over WVU Tech this week for its return of STEM Summer Academy for Girls, an all-girls camp where students took courses in math, computer science, chemistry and engineering, all while meeting and hearing from female professionals in STEM fields.
On Tuesday, the girls spent the day visiting industry sites throughout the area, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Buffalo, and on Thursday, they'll spend the day ziplining and learning about local wetland and ecology at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean.
Wednesday was more of a lecture-style learning day, where the girls learned basics on mechanical and chemical engineering.
Kristen Sayre of St. Albans was just one of the many girls to take on everything the camp had to offer. Although she's enjoyed the camp thus far, Wednesday was her favorite day because it was focused on chemical engineering — a big interest of hers.
Kristen, 16, will be a junior in high school this fall, but already knows she wants to work in the STEM field once she graduates from college.
"I want to go to college and study biology," she explained. "Then one day be a doctor, so participating in this camp was something I really wanted to do. I want to learn more about science, because that's the career path I want to follow."
Kristen explained during Wednesday's lecture course on chemical engineering that the girls were working to make their own batteries using water and bleach.
"We're learning all about how water can power stuff," she said. "It's really interesting."
Alexis Lowe, who has been a counselor at STEM-related camps at WVU Tech for four years, recently graduated from WVU Tech. Come fall, she will be a math teacher in McDowell County Schools.
"I love sharing what I love to do with other people," she said. "My degree is in mechanical engineering, so I love spending time all the kids surrounded by what I'm interested in."
Lowe said the STEM Summer Academy for Girls is crucial, because young girls often get intimidated in high school, especially when they're still trying to figure out what they want to do with their life. She said it's also incredibly important to get women involved in STEM because of its current dominance.
"STEM is still relatively male-dominated and studies show that it's best to not be a minority in a situation," she said. "Studies show things work better when there's not a minority, and it's all equal.
"By doing this all-girls camp, these ladies feel more at ease coming here. We do our very best to have female instructors in at this camp, so they can see someone else in this field they can look up to an aspire to be like."
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