Although progress is being made, there is still a disparity between the number of men and women in STEM fields. So it’s always encouraging to hear about initiatives that are encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM subjects. This past July, the Hamburg University of Technology hosted an international group of girls in grades nine through 12 for a week-long Robotics Camp. Participants came from Germany, Span, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and Israel to learn not only about robotics but 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, and more.
Girls who participated in the camp learned the basics of computer science, electrical engineering and CAD-based programming, as well as opportunities for careers in the STEM field. They also benefited from networking opportunities and the ability to share ideas with like-minded people.
“There is a big gender-gap when it comes to tech-leaders: far too few women are in strong positions in business or government,” the camp’s organizers stated. “Robotics is an exponentially growing technology field, with its ability to transform industries and solve humanity’s grand challenges.”
One afternoon during the weeklong camp included talks from seven female leaders in the STEM world. These included:
- Teresa Alarcos, Co-Founder, Madrid Start-up House
- Maike Baumgartl, Sales Manager, ORACLE
- Dr. Elena Cortona, Head of R&D, Schindler Elevators
- Cecily Kovatch, Founder and CEO, Fueled for Growth
- Anna Moreu, Consulting Director, Iberia and Mediterranean, ORACLE
- Daphna Nissenbaum, Founder and CEO, TIPA Corporation
- Dr. Adi Vegerhof, Lecturer, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art
- Barbara Wittmann, Director, Germany, LinkedIn
The idea for the camp was actually come up with by two teenage girls from Barcelona named Leah and Sofia. They participated in a robotics camp at the Hamburg University of Technology during a summer break, and came back so full of excitement that their friends wanted to participate in something similar. Along with their father, they approached the school about setting up an English-language robotics camp for girls, and were met with an enthusiastic response.
The first camp this past July was so successful that the university is doing it again in 2019. There will be two sessions, actually – the first from July 1st to July 5th, for both girls and boys, and the second from July 8th to July 12th for girls only.
While coed STEM camps are great, there’s something to be said for girls-only camps as well. Part of the issue for girls in STEM is that many of them feel like they’re unusual for liking science, technology, engineering or math, that those are “boys’ subjects” and that they face a disadvantage in breaking into those fields. Meeting other girls who share those interests, and hearing from women who have found success in those fields, is invaluable.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 camps. Interested parties should firstname.lastname@example.org with a written motivational letter, most recent school certificate, a copy of an ID or passport, and a parental authorization form. More information can be found here.
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