Last weekend, Western Washington University Youth Programs held its second GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) Academy.
Designed for girls in grades 5-8 to provide a safe and empowering environment to explore STEM fields, GEMS Academy provides an opportunity for hands-on learning in an inspiring environment with Western professors and students and STEM professionals. Students choose from a variety of different subjects to explore, ranging from veterinarians to the science of solar systems. Programs provided opportunities for many students they had never had.
Here are what some participants said about the event:
- “I don’t understand why schools don’t teach us about all of the women inventors and engineers that I learned about today. All of the inventors we learn about in school are men.”
- “I wish I could have tried all of the classes instead of only two.”
- “I would LOVE for more girls to try this. It was a great experience and a great jump start to show girls there is more than just those stereotypical woman jobs.”
At the event, faculty, students, alumni and community partners participated as instructors. Student volunteers helped walk students to classes and helped with lunches.
Students also heard from a keynote speaker, had lunch on Western’s campus and earned a certificate at the end of the day.
The Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery, which is funding GEMS programs for 2018 with a donation of $4000, covered program costs for GEMS Academy. The refinery also provided scholarships for more than 25 students.
WWU is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation, please contact Extended Education at (360)650-3308 or ExtendedEd@wwu.edu.