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Girls get hands-on experience at STEM camp


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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of high school-aged girls are attending an engineering camp this summer at the University of Utah. It's just one way to get more girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The university's Hi-GEAR — or Girls Engineering Abilities Realized — camp is more than a decade old. It introduces girls to engineering and computer science careers through hands-on learning and team projects.

"Women bring a unique perspective to design and also to the implementation of engineering ideas," said Dianne Leonard of the College of Engineering.

That explains an on-going push to get more girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.

A 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report shows women make up nearly half of the workforce but only 26 percent of the STEM workforce. State educators think they've found a way to get more girls interested in STEM education.

About Hi-GEAR
"Hi-GEAR introduces students to rewarding engineering and computer science careers through hands-on experiential learning and collaborative team projects.

"Female engineering students guide and encourage campers while they: build structures that withstand 10,000+ lbs, create perfume using distillation, build and program text messengers, build rockets and radios, extract DNA and more." - University of Utah website

Registration for Hi-GEAR 2015 is closed.

"Students love to be involved in design and creation," said Steve Shumway, who educates teachers on STEM practices.

At the Utah Stem Action Center Conference, Shumway said Utahns need a shift perspective.

"Because if you're going to change a culture, the best place is in elementary school," he said.

Sarah Young of the Utah Office of Education said, "When I got to high school, I was in an advanced physics class where I was one of three girls, out of 35 individuals in the classroom."

Young says girls just need more support.

"Teachers, parents, and other mentors to be able to help," she said.


Nkoyo Iyamba


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