Fascination takes center stage with STEM event


A new definition of STEM was discovered this past weekend. Ooh … ah, no way.

That’s according to the nearly 250 girls participating in Bloomsburg University’s recent GI-STEM Day designed to teach young girls how to enjoy both learning about science, technology, engineering, and math and be very successful in school in STEM subjects.

New this year, the STEM day was open to all girls in second through eighth grade from local school districts, such as Benton, Berwick, Bloomsburg, Central Columbia, Line Mountain, and Warrior Run). They joined regional Girl Scouts in Brownies (second and third grades), Juniors (fourth and fifth grades), and Cadettes (sixth-eighth grades) in getting excited about the STEM field.

During the program, the groups moved through hands-on STEM stations facilitated by education and nursing majors to learn about STEM principles. Also, they listened to female STEM speakers and presentations from Mad Science of Lehigh Valley and Chesapeake Bay Field Research Station.

GI-STEM Day — hosted by BU’s STEM Education Center — was helped supported by a $25,000 grant from the PPL Foundation, which will also go to help support this summer’s Great STEM Adventure Camps.

Today, women are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In the United States, women represent half of the college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of women work in fields of science and engineering.

One-way Bloomsburg University attempts to combat those statistics with Girls In STEM Day. GI STEM Day encourages local girls to get excited about the STEM field. The day is designed to teach girls how to enjoy both learning about science, technology, engineering, and math and how to be successful in school in STEM subjects.

Not only do girls get hands-on experience, but several education and nursing majors get the opportunity to put their teaching skills to the test.

“For college students, we learn how to manipulate the way we think and explain things, so that it makes sense to a younger group of kids,” said Victoria Ford, nursing major.

Future teachers and nurses had just as much fun as the girls participating. It was all worth while at the end of the day when they heard a young girl run over to her dad, asking him if they could recreate the experiments at home. It was a day of excitement and encouragement as BU students learned how to make young girls more comfortable with science.

“It is key to be introducing these girls to STEM concepts, because they often do not realize how many opportunities are out there for them,” Ford said.

Each station at the event was a different activity that focused on a different subject.

For example, one station was the human body system and another was CPR and first aid. The education and nursing student volunteers helped the groups by describing the activity, explaining the concepts, and keeping the girls excited about science.

“By showing young girls that women are succeeding in STEM careers, we can give these young students role models that inspire them help them become passionate about science, and show them that they too can succeed in these fields,” said Nikita Loreman, education major.