Raising ‘Girl Power’

By Corbin Kottmann
The Rolla Daily News, Mo.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The “It’s a Girl Thing,” “Summer Solutions for Girls,” and “EcoGirl” camps welcome young ladies from a large variety of grades, to encourage them to see the STEM field as more than just a boys club.

The Rolla Daily News, Mo.

Each week, Missouri S&T is welcoming new students as part of their summer camp program, inviting younger students to take part in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) world. Here, they can learn more about the university and what it has to offer, to help them accomplish their goals.

The university has started to incorporate camps that are focused on young women wanting to explore the STEM curriculum.

The “It’s a Girl Thing,” “Summer Solutions for Girls,” and “EcoGirl” camps welcome young ladies from a large variety of grades, to encourage them to see the STEM field as more than just a boys club.

The students engage with the campus with hands-on projects to help inspire those who have the talent, to create, experiment and build.

Kaelyn Yarbrough, a Junior Chemical Engineering major, is a counselor for Summer Solutions for Girls, the camp built for upcoming 9th and 10th grade girls. Yarbrough said she became involved in the camp to be a part of the inspiration for these students.

“So often in schools, STEM programs are more focused towards young men,” she said. “It’s important for young girls to come to these camps and understand there a bunch of women in STEM. If they want to do it, they can.”

The campers were treated to an explosively entertaining physics lecture this past Wednesday, June 28, where they were able to safely experiment with liquid nitrogen. With safety glasses in place, the students were able to freeze and smash objects under professional supervision. This is just one example of the projects the campers are able to do during their time at the university.

“It’s not some big intimidating thing,” said Yarbrough. “They can get right into it and find their lifelong passion.”

Yarbrough is joined by other counselors working to inspire the students, such as Senior Education major Hadley Bjerke, who became a counselor to help provide opportunities for the students and to help them realize their capabilities.

“I think when they’re surrounded by peers that are of the same age and gender, it shows them that there are people who are similar to them that can do these wonderful things,” she said. “They get focused and realized other, similar girls are doing the same things.”

Bjerke said there’s an activity for everyone at the camp, and even those students who are attending due to their parents’ direction, can still find something to spark an interest. Before attending their physics lab, the campers were in the middle of an electrical experiment where they learned to solder electrical components to create their own strobe lights.

“You can see it, their eyes open really wide; they get excited and they can’t stop smiling,” said Bjerke. “At the end, they had this final product that was theirs, and they were so happy.” Bjerke added the best part for her was watching the girls who finished their project moving on to help other students in the room.

“I love to see them having fun and doing well,” she said. “I’m all about providing opportunities and I think these camps do a great job of that.”

Information about signing up for future camps at Missouri S&T can be found through their website, More camps are still available later this summer.

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