On November 10, the University of Kentucky College of Engineering and the Girl Scouts hosted the eighth annual Girls in Engineering, Math & Science (GEMS) event. The collaborative effort was once again a huge success, attracting 250 grade school and middle school girls from central and eastern Kentucky.
“I am grateful to our faculty volunteers and student organizations like Kappa Delta Sorority and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) who work hard to make sure GEMS is a rewarding experience for the girls,” said Vicki Cooper, who coordinated the event. “They generously sacrifice their time to teach and inspire girls who could become future engineers.”
The girls began the day listening to former UK president Lee Todd share his story about developing a childhood interest in engineering as the result of a similar outreach program. To emphasize his point, Todd displayed the project he created when he was a boy as he recounted his career.
Following the keynote address, the attendees participated in three interactive sessions led by College of Engineering faculty and graduate students. Challenged by event coordinators to present STEM education in ways that compel students to want to know more, faculty members Bruce Walcott, Debby Keen, Kimberly Ward Anderson, Nancy Miller, Chuck May, Christine Trinkle and Czarena Crofcheck engaged students through hands-on demonstrations, games and experiments. Walcott, who is involved with several such outreach programs, is encouraged by how programs like GEMS benefit Kentucky.
“It is critical to the economic future success of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that the UK College of Engineering continues to conduct outreach programs such as our Girls Enjoying Math and Science (GEMS) Day. This program promotes engineering and math and science to young women at a time when our State and Nation needs more women entering the engineering workforce. Our partnership with the Girls Scouts and Susan Miller makes an ideal platform to promote the importance of the STEM education disciplines to young women.”