STEM camp for girls inspires future innovators

Jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are still largely filled by men, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. That’s the message from Boise School District teachers and organizers of the third annual Girls Powered STEM camp.

“I want to see these girls attend STEM classes as they go onto junior high and high school,” said Christopher Taylor, the science and social studies supervisor for the Boise School District.

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Nearly 90 girls in grades four through six attended the camp on Wednesday at Whitney Elementary School. The girls participated in hands-on activities including the ins and outs of architect work from women at Erstad Architects, how to build robots from Open Lab Idaho and learning the signs of when animals are sick by WestVet veterinary ophthalmologist Amber L. Labelle.

“I want to be an astronomer when I grow up and this camp is helping me learn new things I haven’t learned in school,” said Maya Cox, a fifth-grader at Whitney Elementary.

The girls participated in a roundtable discussion with professional women who expressed why they love their jobs, what they studied in college and how young girls can get a jump start on their careers.

The goal of the camp is to attract more women to careers in STEM by offering early exposure to role models and experiences in those fields.

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Another session of Girls Powered STEM Camp took place on Tuesday at Shadow Hills Elementary School with 90 girls. Boise officials said the popularity of the camp has led them to consider adding more spots for girls to attend the camp next summer.