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Illinois: High School Girls Mentoring Younger Counterparts in STEAM Technology & 3D Printing

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STEAM education, both in and out of the school setting, has grabbed the attention of girls of all ages from around the world. It’s a good thing too, because it is no secret that areas such as engineering and mathematics are still very male-dominated. But the truth is that many STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) oriented studies and jobs have historically been intimidating or not as interesting to a large percentage of students.

Thankfully, nerds are in today and so is STEAM; in fact, participating in STEAM programs is downright cool these days. And a group of girls from Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, IL took it upon themselves to show their younger counterparts—from fifth to eighth grades—just how much fun STEAM can be, creating a mentorship program called Got STEAM.

The girls offer workshops once a month, featuring subjects such as 3D printing, robotics, and coding. The sessions are held either at their high school or the Glenview Public Library. Kate Stack is a high school sophomore and acts as a program leader in the new mentorship program, which began during this school year. She states that the program is open to all, with boys welcomed—although the program has primarily targeted membership by girls. Stack also received $350 for materials thanks to her application for a grant from the Karma for Cara Foundation.

Savera Zulfiqar, a Glenbrook South senior and program leader, states that they have picked topics centered around areas where there is a greater deficiency of girls. The idea for the group began after the girls observed themselves as the only girls in science, math, engineering or technology classes in their younger years. Currently, around 20 to 40 of the younger girls usually show up at the workshops, and often it is the same participants. The workshops are advertised through word of mouth, usually through school.

 “By having this program, we give girls mentors who are only a few years older than them and they get to see all the awesome projects we are doing,” Stack said. “We’re hoping to inspire them to follow in our footsteps and do their own work too.”

According to Ella Prillaman, a Glenbrook South sophomore and program leader, the older girls envision the younger ones taking over the group later.

“We love the program and all the response we have been getting,” Stack said. “We’ve also been inspired by the girls who go to the workshops … being able to see the girls delve into it and apply the knowledge has been cool to see.”

3D printing has been of interest in the workshops too; in fact, Elise Bauerschmidt, an eighth grader at Springman Middle School, said she was also able to use a free period at school to continue learning more about that technology in particular. She enjoys the lessons with the group of older girls because she finds their teaching to be relatable.

“I think it’s fantastic because the girls are so similar in age but they’re doing such amazing projects,” Bauerschmidt’s mother, Lauren Bauerschmidt, said.

Glenview Public Library

The next workshop (math) will be held on February 1, 2018 at the Glenview Public Library. In March, there will be a workshop focused on instant engineering challenges, and for April—robotics. To register for a workshop, visit glenviewsgotsteam.weebly.com.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source: Chicago Tribune /Images: Got STEAM]

 

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