For the sixth year in a row, Richland College partnered with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host part of a four-week summer camp for young women focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The girls were at Richland June 10-14.
“The girls are living proof that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,” said Simona Farcasiu, with the School of Engineering and Technology. “It takes a community to encourage girls to overcome challenges and pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields, and it was a great joy to watch the returning group of girls act as mentors to the rookies.”
This year, Richland College hosted two groups of girls – rookie eight graders and returning ninth graders. The returning group participated in biology/chemistry camp led by Libiya Shah and Becki Williams, where they learned about the water cycle and tested various water samples. The eighth graders participated in engineering/math camp, led by Simona Farcasiu and Praveena Dhayanithy, where they learned how math concepts are applied in engineering. Some applications included resistor color codes as applications of exponents and measuring sine waves as applications of trig.
In addition, both groups participated in a digital literacy camp led by Melinda Andrews, where they investigated their digital footprint and online safety. Also, the girls utilized their special reasoning skills when building lamps in art camp, led by Vicki Mayhan. Finally, both groups performed a beautiful dance routine symbolic of the Gestalt theory, “the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,” led by Gina Sawyer.
Guests speakers during the camp included Martha Hogan, former executive dean for the School of Engineering and Technology, who spoke about the importance of education and addressed various pathways for achieving a degree and moving into a career in STEM. Sparsula Simmons, PMP, CSM manager at State Farm, led the girls into explorations of what it takes to be successful in a career and reminded the girls that they have the keys to success. Two Richland College police officers, Corporal Brooks and Officer Lopez, led a discussion with the girls about various issues.
“Throughout the camp, the girls impressed us with their depth of thought, openness to new ideas and support for each other,” added Simona.
Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas serves a diverse population of 1,000 girls, ages 6 to 18, in the Greater Dallas area. The organization focuses on the development of the whole girl through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment and research-based programming that equips girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty and become role models in their communities. For more information, visit https://girlsincdallas.org.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this event another success!
For the second year in a row, Richland College recently partnered with Girls Inc. of Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host part of a four-week summer camp for middle school girls.
The camp, called “EUREKA!”, empowers campers to see themselves as an important part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workforce of the future. Richland College is hosting the first week, June 22-26, which focuses on “Water: Ubiquitous and Unique.” The girls are exploring various properties of Earth’s most important resource in the contexts of sustainability and ecology. The curriculum includes experiential learning activities in the sciences, 3-D art, learning strategies, college readiness and communications skills. Each afternoon, the girls also learn about the physics and fun behind the hula-hoop.
“The unique feature of this program is that we are intentionally nurturing a cohort of girls in STEM fields over a five-year period,” said Sherry Dean, Ph.D., Richland College professor of speech communication. “We will nurture them through high school graduation and help them secure successful higher education pathways in a STEM major. By the time these girls graduate, they will have both the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in STEM.”
Upon completing their first week of camp at Richland College, the girls will go to the University of North Texas at Dallas, followed by the University of Texas at Dallas. The camp concludes at Cedar Valley College on July 24 with a closing ceremony featuring a rocket launch.
“The accumulation of learning and exposure to STEM over the course of four weeks could have a tremendous impact on a girl’s future,” said Girls Inc. of Dallas CEO Lori Palmer. “We hope to help girls become well equipped for the future by exposing them to diverse opportunities like careers in STEM and ongoing summer learning opportunities.”
The “EUREKA!” program is sponsored in part by SAP Labs, the TI Foundation, ExxonMobil and a $10,000 grant from State Farm that is specifically funding the first week of camp at Richland College.