ACU is partnering with the Academy of Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Science, a local STEM high school, for an educational learning event for middle school girls.
The STEM for Girls program is a half-day camp for middle school girls in the Big Country.
The event was created by Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, dean of the college of education and human services and Dr. Sarah Lee, ACU Dallas administrator and former chemistry faculty member, with the help of ACU STEM faculty.
“Research tells us that girls tend to lose interest in the STEM areas in middle school,” Shewmaker said. “So a group of us who care about promoting the love of STEM developed this annual program to give girls an exciting, fun experience in STEM.”
Shewmaker said they will have a variety of hands-on activities for the participants.
“We have several stations that are all hands-on, fun activities that give the girls a chance to experience what it’s like to study or work in a variety of fields,” Shewmaker said. “The stations are run by ACU faculty and students and ATEMS high school teachers and students and include robotics, physics, engineering, communication sciences, kinesiology, nutrition and biology. It’s a day full of fun and learning.”
Dr. Lori Houghtalen, assistant professor for the department of engineering and physics, said many girls tend to lose interest in these subjects when they reach middle school.
“Research shows us that middle school is the time when that drop-off happens,” Houghtalen said. “Before middle school, girls and boys are roughly equally interested in STEM. For some reason, middle school is a time where girls really withdraw from interest in those areas.”
Houghtalen also said its important to keep girls interested in these fields.
“We are 50 percent of the population and we are 50 percent of the problem solvers,” Houghtalen said. “When only 10 percent of the people at the table are women, you are missing out on a lot of important input.”
ACU Faculty and Students from the Biology, STIC, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Engineering and the Kinesiology and Nutrition departments will be located at different stations.
The event will take place on Saturday at the Halbert-Walling Research Center.