Inspiring Girls To Pursue Careers in STEM

Photo From Steven Depolo

There are a lot of fields that we don’t see enough women pursuing careers in, and one of those fields that we continually try to inspire girls to look into are the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We’ve talked about the lack of women in STEM here on the blog before and have posed the question, how can we inspire more girls to follow STEM related career path?

Well, in Western Michigan they may just be on to something.

The Science, Technology and Engineering Preview (STEPS) camp held at the Grand Valley State University. The program was created in hopes that it would help girls get excited about and choose technology careers as they enter college.

The STEPS program is open to any girl in sixth grade in West Michigan and the cost is only $25. The girls study things like web design and technology but spend most of the week designing and building their own model airplanes from scratch, which they get to fly towards the end of camp.

According to statistics only 13% of engineers are women. But as STEPS celebrates its 10th anniversary it has begun to see what kind of impact it’s had on it’s 800 graduates over the years. Early research done by the program shows that 41% of their graduates have gone on to pursue careers in engineering related fields.

“This is what opened the door for me and encouraged me to give engineering a shot,” Amy Schumar, a 20-year-old University of Michigan industrial engineering student interning at Perrigo Co. this summer told a local paper. Schumar attended STEPS in 2003.

Could more programs and camps like this be the key to encouraging more girls to pursue careers in STEM? It sure seems so based on what happening in West Michigan.

Are there camps like this in your area? If you or your daughter has taken part in a similar program where you live, we’d love to hear about your experience.

Kudos to the SheHeroes attending and behind the STEPS program in West Michigan!

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