All-Inclusive – STEM night geared toward middle school girls
Science, technology engineering and math – called the STEM subjects – have long been the domain of males.
But parents and educators believe there is no good reason why girls should be left out of what can be creative and well-paying fields.
And research shows that enthusiasm and encouragement are key to getting young girls to take their interests seriously.
At Milford High School, teachers and students want to share their enthusiasm with girls from area middle schools at a STEM event on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Through hand-on activities, they can learn about construction, woodworking, machining and engineering.
Last October, the school’s Applied Technology Center hosted a similar evening, and about 30 girls and their parents attended.
This year’s event is aimed at girls in the fifth through eighth grades who are within a 15-mile radius of Milford.
They will get to see the school’s bio-tech lab and its computer, construction, woodworking and engineering facilities.
Hosted by seven junior and senior girls from Milford High’s engineering program, the "Girls in STEM/Manufacturing" night in October showed the younger girls how 3-D printers work as they
designed products with 3Doodler pens. They also built and tested paper bridges and learned how to draw CAD (computer-aided design) images before manufacturing items with computer equipment.
Local Girl Scouts were involved, and donated refreshments and giveaway items and vouchers for college camps.
Milford High teacher Frank Xydias teaches STEM summer camps at Manchester Community College, including one all-girl camp. He says there is no reason girls can’t be successful in STEM careers.
"They get to see creativity, design and imagination come together to make products that affect all of us," he said.
Jen Carson and Devany Pitsas are two of the juniors who are planning and hosting the evening program.
Carson is a year-round athlete who wants to pursue a career in sports engineering. Her favorite sport is softball, and she has a particular interest in the design of bats.
Pitsas wants to go into environmental engineering as it relates to energy sustainability.
What do they tell younger girls who might be interested in STEM careers?
"Definitely try it out if you’re the kind if person who likes hands-on," Pitsas said. It’s a different way of learning, a different mind-set, and Milford teachers are very supportive, she said.
Carson said the October event was successful.
"A lot of the girls left very excited," she said. "I think many weren’t expecting to like it as much as they did."
To register for the Jan. 13 event, email fxydias@ sau40.com.
Earlier this week about 30 girls were registered, and there is room for 64.