Middle- and high-school girls get a hands-on look at science and engineering

07/21/11 Olivia Kabat
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This week Middle and High School girls are getting a hands-on look at science and engineering in Tampa.

This five-day Minds for Design Girl Scout Camp focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Girls from Middle and High Schools around the Central Florida area are exploring their interests through hands-on activities, lectures, and field trips to the University of South Florida and MOSI. Susan Barnes, Director of Communications with Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, says more than 30 girls are enjoying the interactive learning experience.

“All of our programs are open to all girls whether or not their girl scouts. This camp in particular is for girls who are going into grades 6-12. Really it’s a chance for them to not only meet these professionals but maybe learn about some career paths that they haven’t thought about in the past.”

The girls have the opportunity to meet female engineers from NASA and learn about many engineer related careers. By completing new experiments such as building rockets, the campers receive information about science and engineering design.

“Yesterday we had an Aerospace Engineer from NASA come in and she talked with the girls about her job. She actually works on one of the rockets and she had a simulated hovercraft so they got to kind of play with that and sit on top of it and float above the ground which I think was pretty cool. There also going to be visiting USF and there going to be in the robotics lab and take a look at their prosthetic research lab, those kinds of things, it’s very hands-on.”

According to Barnes, Minds for Design Camp is working toward stimulating girls’ passion to succeed in the STEM fields and possibly pursue them as a career.

“It’s been recorded that in the fifth grade girls start to lose interest in STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and math). So that’s one of the focuses of girl scouts, is to reengage girls in those areas of study in a fun and engaging way. Through this camp we’re doing that. There are over 30 girls attending and their all really excited about it and their becoming, or maybe renewing their passion for these fields. One of the girls yesterday was saying that her favorite subjects are science and math. So it really is nationally one of Girl Scouts priorities, the STEM programming. So, just to reengage girls in those career exploration fields.”

On Friday, Minds for Design Girl Scout Camp will visit USF and MOSI.

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