Middle School Girls Reach For The Stars

By Lee Howard
The Day, New London, Conn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) More than 80 local female middle schoolers ramped up their power to innovate Thursday by spending the day doing a deep dive into science, technology, engineering and math workshops sponsored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

GROTON

As a couple dozen girls gathered around, a vice president from Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense in Simsbury who has worked on the Orion Space Program asked the group what they had learned from a hands-on engineering exercise in which more than a few bottle rockets had, in her words, experienced “structural failure.”

“Size does matter,” said one student.

“You need more time to make it,” ventured another.

“You have to be very smart,” offered up a third.

Workshop leader Meryl Mallery nodded and added that designing a rocket is all about power: “You have to have enough energy inside the rocket to counteract all that weight.”

More than 80 local female middle schoolers ramped up their power to innovate Thursday by spending up to five hours at CURE Innovation Commons doing a deep dive into science, technology, engineering and math workshops sponsored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

The students, from STEM Magnet Middle School and West Side Middle School in Groton and St. Joseph School and Benny Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, heard from an all-female group of mentors about what it’s like to be an engineer, entrepreneur and drug developer, along with a host of other science- and math-related jobs.

Sarah Lubarsky, executive director of the Women’s Hall of Fame, said currently only about a quarter of STEM-related jobs in the United States are occupied by women, and only 12 percent of its own inductees were in STEM fields. She would like to see that percentage increase substantially over the next few decades, encouraged by programs like the “STEMfem” workshops her group is sponsoring around the state.

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