|Middle School STEM Expo Connects Industry with 125 Girls from 4 RI Schools|
Tech Collective’s annual STEM in the Middle workshop and career expo aims to increase STEM awareness, interest, and participation at a critical time in students’ education and development. Hosted by The Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College.
Providence, R.I. – November 4, 2016 – One hundred and twenty five middle school students and ten educators from Sophia Academy (Providence, RI), Woonsocket Middle School (Woonsocket, RI), Paul Cuffee Middle School (Providence, RI) and Calcutt Middle School (Central Falls, RI) today attended Tech Collective’s sixth annual STEM in the Middle Girls’ Career Expo.
STEM in the Middle aims to raise awareness and participation in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields at the middle school level. Students will attend three hands-on interactive STEM workshops throughout the morning. The workshops are designed and facilitated by female industry professionals, RIC faculty and high school students from Wm. Davies Career and Technical High School (Lincoln) and North Kingstown High School. Workshop topics include: computer science, cosmology, biotechnology, engineering, environmental science and engineering, marine science, wearable technology and laser printing.
The Expo workshops were designed and facilitated by 30 female industry professionals, faculty, and students. Companies and organizations bringing real-world insight and experience to the Expo were: Amgen, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Dassault Systemes Simulia, Ocean Exploration Trust (URI), NASA, Fidelity Investments, Hasbro, RI State Police, TEALs, and RI College.
“The middle school years represent a crucial time of exploration and self-discovery for girls,” said Carol Giuriceo, Ph.D., director of the Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College. “STEM in the Middle exposes them to new experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Hopefully, when the girls return to their schools, they will have a more comprehensive understanding of and connection to STEM and STEAM.”
In addition, this year we are delighted to have high school girls facilitating two of the engineering sessions. Viviana Barrientos from the Wm. Davies Career and Tech Center; and Sophie Girard, North Kingstown High School both won a Tech Collective/URI Scholarship essay contest at GRRL Tech last year. The theme of the essay was to design a hands-on STEAM related workshop for middle school girls.
Educators and industry commonly agree that students need to be exposed to STEM awareness and engagement at a young age. Middle school age is often recognized as a turning point, where adolescence begins and the pressures of peers and education increase. Students – particularly girls – can shy away from STEM due to gender stereotypes or a lack of awareness and perceived opportunities. STEM in the Middle’s mission is to erase these barriers through raising awareness and increasing opportunities for and participation of young women in the sciences.
The Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College
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