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Student-run STEM camp heightens girls’ interest in science

August 05, 2019

Carthage hosted the first STEM Progress Alliance for Racine and Kenosha (SPARK) summer camp July ...Carthage hosted the first STEM Progress Alliance for Racine and Kenosha (SPARK) summer camp July 26-28. Designed to break down social and financial barriers, this free three-day, two-night camp was open to all girls entering eighth and ninth grades who have an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Historically, women are underrepresented in STEM fields,” said Hannah Skendziel ’19, founder and director of SPARK. “Studies have shown one of the best ways to get more girls involved in STEM is by nurturing their interest and excitement during middle school and early high school.”

Twenty-nine campers from the Kenosha area interacted in small groups that allowed for collaboration and teamwork, led by female STEM students. Carthage professors hosted workshops and demonstrations with a focus on application-based learning, and community professionals from local companies ran interactive seminars educating campers on the diverse STEM jobs available in our own community. Workshops ranged from healthcare and medicine to neuroscience and astronomy.

“All-girl camps like SPARK are important for getting more girls interested and excited about STEM,” Ms. Skendziel continued. “Research has shown the best way to do this is to provide girls with role models and mentors in STEM while teaching them about the impact they can have in these fields.”

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