Send a Girl to STEM Camp. It Matters.
*Please note that STEMbusUSA is sponsoring this post, and are in turn providing two summer camp scholarships—one for my daughter, and one I get to give away! Keep reading if you’re interested in helping a girl attend a STEMbusUSA camp this summer.*
**Update- Thanks to some generous donors, I now have FIVE scholarships to give away. You can use the link below if you want to donate a partial or full scholarship**
This is probably the only giveaway you will ever see from me on this blog. I don’t advertise. I don’t do product reviews. I don’t do giveaways.
Except this one. I feel so passionately about this topic, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Believe it or not, I was a reluctant STEM convert. If you would have told me ten years ago that today I would be blogging about technology, speaking on the importance of STEM education, and authoring a book about creating makers, I would have laughed hysterically.
Growing up, I hated every word that makes up STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).
So what changed?
Two things: 1) I was introduced to STEM topics through an arts lens; and 2) I had a daughter. Not just any daughter, but a daughter who loves STEM. She started her own business when she was 8. Math has always been her favorite subject. She likes computers, Minecraft, and most of all, she loves building things. Perhaps one of the best days of her life was when she found out she would be competing on her school’s Mars Rover team. STEM is who this girl is.
At the same time I have this daughter who loves all things STEM, I am out in the world talking about STEM all the time, as part of my job; here are some things I’ve witnessed:
- Meetings in which people continually reference the need to find PTA fathers to host STEM nights at school (even after I suggested that mothers were probably capable as well)
- Tech conferences where a majority of women in the room were dressed in tight shirts with a logo across their chest
- Countless girls who say they’re “just not good” at science, technology, engineering, and math
I’ve seen the problem first hand, yet I have this daughter who defies all of it. It’s easy to ignore all the bad things happening around girls and STEM when you have part of the solution sleeping down the hall from you every night.
Until this happens:
A few days ago my daughter came home from her Mars Rover practice. While usually excited about what they’ve been working on, this particular afternoon she didn’t offer up much conversation. I probed with a few questions, asking if the rover could move yet. She seemed unsure of the answer to every question I gave, and finally told me she didn’t know what was happening with the rover, because she was working on the poster for her team.
“Oh, cool. A poster. Who are you working on that with?”
“The other girls.”
“How many other girls are on your team?”
“Six girls, two boys.”
“So what do the boys do while you all work on the poster?”
“They program the Mars Rover.”
Okay, so, you can imagine my state of mind at that moment. While I tried to stay calm and offer helpful advice, I was seething. I reminded my daughter of how good she is at building things and programming things. I reminded her that she does this stuff all the time, and could probably offer a lot of assistance.
“I know mom, but the boys are so bossy. It’s just easier to work on the poster.”
IT’S JUST EASIER TO WORK ON THE POSTER became my new rallying cry. Around this same time, STEMbusUSA approached me about this giveaway, and I responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” YES, I will accept a scholarship for my own daughter to attend; YES, I will pay for my other daughter to attend (my own choice); absolutely YES, I will give away a scholarship to another girl in Idaho—and YES, I will continue to speak out about this, taking action whenever I can. I hope you will join me.
Here are the details:
If you know a girl living in Idaho (Boise, Meridian, or Eagle) or in North Carolina (Charlotte, Davidson, Asheville, or Huntersville) who is in grade 1-12 who would like to attend a STEM camp this summer, all you need to do is write “I nominate a girl” in the comments below. Don’t give any information about them, just make that comment. On April 20 I will use random.org to draw a number and let the winner know.
If any individual or business wants to donate toward a scholarship, I would be thrilled to draw more than one number.
Please read on for details about the camps STEMbusUSA offers. If you have a girl who can attend, I urge you to send them. If you know a girl who would attend if it weren’t for the financials, I urge you to nominate them. If you know someone who would like to help send a girl to one of these camps, I urge you to put them in touch with me. This problem of girls in STEM is not going to solve itself—it is waiting for us to act.
STEMbusUSA.org offers week-long STEM summer camps for students entering grades 1-12. The camps are designed by Stanford and MIT engineers to build interest in science, technology, engineering, and math through fun and engaging events. They are full-day, full-week camps that run from 9am–3pm. All camps are $275 in Idaho and $375 in North Carolina.
STEMbus offers a variety of STEM camps. Below are summaries and what students can expect from each. For a full listing of dates and locations throughout the Treasure Valley, please visit stembususa.org/camps.
- Programming and Robotics – A Medieval Quest
- Engineering Excitement
- MIT: APP Development
- Build-Your-Own Computer and Minecraft
- Minecraft MODS
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drones) – Construction and Flight Skills (week 1)
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drones) – Autonomous Flight Programming (week 2)
- Laser Tag with Arduino
- Virtual Reality Experience