Experimenting With Ending A Stereotype

SMWC celebrates 10 years of a STEM program that focuses on middle school girls

Terre Haute - Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is celebrating 10 years of helping middle school aged girls get a jump start in STEM education.
Every year they host  the national, Expand Your Horizons campaign where girls come spend a day on campus doing different activities to help them learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math.
The expand your horizons campaign aims to change the stereotype of stem professions being "a man's job".

"When Analyse Payne did start this, she really wanted to encourage girls to attempt going into the science fields and the math fields because women can in fact do just as well if not better than any of the men in the field," said Maria Sellers, event co-coordinator.

The program focuses on middle school girls who have an interest in the STEM field, helping them experiment with their interests.

"Middle school aged girls are not sure yet. They are still trying to figure out who they are in this world in relation to themselves, other people, their families their communities. To have this type of organization allows them to see beyond what traditionally they are shown," says Ginger Lewman, keynote speaker for the event.

The program believes that the key to changing male dominant field is to start the girls young.

"I think that the earlier that girls are involved in math and science the quicker the interest is there. So if it becomes imbedded and it is organic in what they do in every day life it is something they will continue to do throughout life," says Sellers.

With all of the experiments and equations, the program aims to teach the girls more than how to make slime and translate chemical reactions.

"Sometimes things look impossible, so how do we find the possibilities inside the impossible? That is what the world is right," says Lewman.

She she hopes that in the future when the girls face a problem that needs solved no matter how big or small, that they remember, "I can and I have to, because who is going to if not me." 

The program continues to evolve and teach different stem skills every year, resulting in girls returning to the program every year.
This year they had 75 girls participate in the program.

For the full break down of what the participants do in the program, you can click here.

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