Grove City College welcomed about 350 high- and middle-school girls Wednesday for a day-long exploration of the disciplines known as STEM – science, technology engineering and mathematics.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Women’s Initiative STEM Summit, hosted by the College and Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, a regional educational resources center headquartered in Grove City, was designed to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers.
From the smiles and excitement visible in laboratories at Grove City College’s STEM Hall, it seemed to be working. Groups of students participated in hands-on experiments and activities led by STEM professionals from Covestro, Lake Erie College of Medicine, Ellwood City Forge and Grove City College.
Girls crowded around lab tables to make glue and lip gloss in a second-floor laboratory, while downstairs others were using a few chemicals and colored water to create a stretchy polymer gel and see who could make the longest string. In other locations they learned the ins and outs of engineering and material science. Elsewhere on campus, students were getting an overview of STEM fields and some more inspiration from a pair of female Massachusetts Institute of Technology students along with tours of Grove City College buildings and labs devoted to STEM.
Dianne McGaffic, educational consultant with the MIU IV, was overwhelmed by the turnout. “We were expecting 100, 150 students. We got more than double that. It’s amazing.”
Dr. Stacy Birmingham, dean of the College’s Hopeman School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, said the event was a great way to introduce young women to the hard sciences. Speaking from experience, she said more women should consider STEM careers.
“Opportunities such as this are critical to increasing the number of women that pursue STEM careers, which is necessary to meet the growing national need for STEM professionals,” Birmingham said. “My own desire to pursue engineering was fostered by professionals that I met while in high school, and it is my hope that this event will spark an interest in the STEM disciplines for many of these young women.”
Students from the following districts participated: Grove City Area; Hermitage; Ellwood City Area; Karns City Area; Laurel; Lawrence County Career and Technical Center; Moniteau; Neshannock; New Castle Area; Mercer Area; Shenango Area; and Wilmington Area.
Grove City College is committed to advancing STEM education for all students and providing educational opportunities to regional schools. To find out more about our science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and the Hopeman School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, visit www.gcc.edu/hopeman.