After a week at STEM camp at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg three eighth-grade girls have a better idea of what career path they will take.
After spending a week, June 27 to July 3, at the AAUW/FL Teck Trek STEM camp at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, three eighth grade girls told the Flagler Branch of the American Association of University Women about their experiences using PowerPoint presentations they created at camp.
Brea Dwyer, Madison Mead, Aleah Selman were the three students who had the opportunity to attend the camp and participate in hands-on workshops, meet women successful in their fields, and attend core classes.
“We were selected by our science teachers to join this STEM program sponsored by the AAUW,” Madison said.
Once nominated by the science teachers the girls were interviewed by members of the Flagler branch.
Hands-on programs included a forensic science simulation, detecting blood samples, learning about the types of fingerprints and finding a “murderer” based on provided clues. Other classes were engineering based, with the students creating hot air balloon models and robots.
Aleah was the only one of the three who had participated in a STEM class when she was a student at Wadsworth Elementary. Her class competed in the state competition.
Madison knew before she attended the camp that her interests were in biochemistry.
“I have always wanted to be a biochemist,” Madison said. “My favorite class was the food chemistry.”
It was also an opportunity for the girls to meet successful women in STEM careers.
Aleah, who has an interest in marine biology and marine science, met Dr. Ellen J. Prager a marine scientist and author. She is the chief scientist for the Aquarius Reef Base program in Key Largo which includes the world’s only undersea research station.
“I got to meet her and get one of her books,” Aleah said.
Brea’s goal is to be a CEO, not unlike Lee-En Chung who she met at the camp. Chung is an entrepreneur, speaker and construction consultant, and the founder of Ivy Ventures.
“I thought engineering was so boring, but now I am open to business,” Brea said. “I was really inspired by Lee-En Chung.”
All three girls said the week gave them a new perspective on career choices.
“What inspired me was how women can be just as good at STEM careers as men. Even though there are fewer women in these careers,” Madison said. “It is because of the AAUW that we have more opportunities to get into STEM fields. It’s empowering us to become equal to men.”