The Day – Girls Explore STEM Careers During Summer Program


Norwich – At Three Rivers Community College on Monday, teens and adults teaching them about careers in science, technology, engineering and math gathered around a table to make necklaces using bead patterns to signify Morse code words.

Participants in the STEM summer program had just heard from Elizabeth Peterson, an electrical engineer at Electric Boat, about how to identify their values ​​to help them choose a career. She explained what an engineer does and what she loves about her career, including being able to make a difference and do interesting work.

Earlier today, the girls took part in relay races, games and yoga, and heard a talk from a cybersecurity expert.

STEPS, Inc., a Groton-based non-profit organization that represents Striving Toward Empowered Personal Success and whose mission is to empower young women, runs the four-week summer school and career enrichment program, focused on STEM, with the National Council of Black Women and Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline.

Amanda Stanberry, 16, and Alexis Wheeler, 15, both of Mystic, who became friends after meeting on the show Monday, were helping each other create their Morse code necklaces.

After listening to a talk by cybersecurity specialist Migdalia Wills earlier today, Stanberry said she learned about the importance of being yourself and making connections in the STEM field.

Wheeler said she was getting to know colleges and the different opportunities. She said it’s important to try new things.

“If you push yourself to try new things, you might learn more and have more fun than you think,” she said.

STEPS, Inc. received a $ 150,000 Summer Enrichment Innovation Grant from the state Department of Education for the program.

The program, which runs until August 6 and takes place on local college campuses, features STEM workshops in which girls ages 16-19 learn from professionals working in STEM fields and participate in activities based on them. STEM, such as building drones. Girls are also participating in activities, such as yoga and meditation, for their well-being after the COVID-19 pandemic. The group also makes excursions and university visits. Places are still available for girls to join the program.

STEPS executive director Beatrice Jennette said during the COVID-19 pandemic there had been no opportunity to make university visits, so organizers want to make sure girls can now visit colleges and schools with strong STEM programs so they see what’s available not only locally, but also in neighboring states.

She said they try to show the girls that nothing is impossible. Every day, a professional with a STEM career shares with girls what their careers are like.

STEM was chosen as the theme of the summer enrichment program because the growing field offers a sustainable future, Jennette said.

Fernanda Reyes, 20, an intern who studies Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut-Storrs, said that growing up her mother taught her how important STEM is and how women are. necessary in the field.

She said she felt like a role model for some of the younger students and was able to explain things to them about college, including meal plans and financial aid and unteached advice. during university visits, like how to get cheaper textbooks through Facebook. groups.

Gabby Fedus, 16, of Montville, who participates in the program, said she had already learned a lot on day one about teamwork, college and a career.

Fedus, who works in the biotech business at Norwich Technical High School, said she enjoys being around other women in the STEM field during the program.

Toni Xu, 17, of Uncasville, said she was not sure what specialization she was going to study at university before, but was now interested in finance and business.

“I think this opportunity gives me a lot of time to think about what I’m going to do in the future,” she said.

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