The theme for this year’s Engineering Institute for Young Women was “the sun,” a fitting theme, as the program aims to keep girls’ interest in math and science shining bright.
Throughout the week, 40 middle school girls spent time learning and participating in projects that required sunlight. They made solar-powered cars and raced them. They made solar-powered ovens and used them to make s’mores. The students studied exoplanets and observed sunspots. They screen printed T-shirts using UV light.
“My mom signed me up and didn’t even ask me,” said one participant. “I was so mad and thought this would be so boring, but it’s really fun.”
Most of the other 7th graders at her table agreed; as first-time participants, they were surprised by the fun of it all.
“The teachers are fun,” said Olivia Guzzo.
“The hands-on learning is really fun,” said Sara Mongelli.
“The teachers are knowledgeable and helpful when we have questions,” said Mia Frisoni. “But they don’t just do it for us; they let us figure it out.”
Of the 40 girls, 15 were repeat attendees.
The program began when school officials noticed a decline in female students’ interest in pursuing math and science classes as they registered for high school.
“Studies show that girls become disinterested in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) subjects around this age,” said Niskayuna High School science teacher and program coordinator Paul Scott. “We want to prevent that from happening.”
The program aims to keep girls engaged in STEAM subjects by offering the hands-on approach, pointing out how…
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