By Midshipman 2nd Class Rachel Busiek
This past weekend USNA hosted a STEM event unlike any other! Roughly 300, 8th-grade girls from the surrounding communities traveled to the Academy for a day of education and design.
The morning commenced with the girls participating in opening exercises to learn basic scientific principles and interact with each other as many of the girls did not know anyone else at the event.
Following introductions, the young ladies attended two of the numerous modules instructed by Naval Academy professors. Module topics covered a wide range of topics: aquaculture, biometrics, bioterrorism, Calcbots, laparoscopic surgery, rockets, fun with physics, NXT bots, and a pattern recognition module called "Lost at Sea."
Although the event was predominantly targeted at the young girls, they were not the only people attending classes and having fun that morning. While the girls learned about STEM topics, their parents were able to sit in on a variety of lectures that were aimed at optimal development for their children.
The parents' schedule included briefs about "Raising the Whole Girl," nutrition, the benefits of STEM education, college costs and benefits, as well as a leadership panel that was run by the midshipmen who were the leads and helped develop Girls STEM Day: 1/C Jennifer Pendleton, 2/C Rachel Busiek, and 2/C Montana Geimer.
Following a brief lunch break, the parents were released for the day to explore USNA and the surrounding areas; however, the girls applied the knowledge they had learned earlier in the morning during a design competition. The design for this year’s event was focused on "Women of Innovation" with a particular emphasis on leadership.
The girls were divided into teams of three and assigned a task to develop either an amphibious craft that can transit from land to sea while protecting a payload, or an aviation glider that can transit from a launch platform to the ground while protecting a payload.
Overall, the feedback from the design portion and the day was great! Many young girls bragged about new career goals they had developed as a result of the day’s events and career and educational opportunities they were excited about that they previously did not even know existed.
This type of feedback and response is precisely why the Girl’s STEM Day is hosted each year and continues to be such a success!