Discovery Park Campus hosts ‘Girls Only’ STEM Science Day-Camp

Contributed Photo: EAC Physics Professor Karen Preston assists a class with model rockets during EASI’s 5th annual Girls-Only STEM Science Day-Camp at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus on Saturday.

By Paul Anger

SAFFORD – The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative held its 5th annual G.O. (Girls-Only) STEM Science Day-Camp Saturday, Jan. 25, at the EAC Discovery Park Campus with 18 girls in 7th through 9th grade from Graham and Greenlee Counties. The focus of the free day-long camp was to engage local young women in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lessons and activities and build and interest in higher-level STEM education and career opportunities. 

The girls received lessons and career information from four amazing female instructors with a variety of professional backgrounds and experience. The day started with a light breakfast and continued with the first two events of the day; Mrs. Kara Barron, Science Outreach for the Gila Watershed Partnership (GWP), shared a fun lesson on the importance of “Water Quality”.  The young women learned the importance of clean water for native plants and animals, and how various types of pollution can enter our watershed and damage sensitive ecosystems. The girls practiced using digital testing equipment in the waters of the Discovery Park Pond to determine its cleanliness and ability to support the local plants and animals. 

Contributed Photo: Kara Barron, Science Outreach for the Gila Watershed Partnership, shares a lesson about water quality at the Discovery Park Pond.

The next class was with Mrs. Mikayla Cope, LEGO Robotics Coach at the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley, with a fun activity using computers to create programs to operate the Lego Robotic Vehicles.  The girls designed programs to make the Lego Robots successfully move and perform several maneuvers to actuate objects on a course.  

The girls broke for a short lunch break and then continued with the two remaining two classes of the day. Mrs. Carolyn McCormies FNP and EAC Director of Nursing, and Samantha Anderson, a flight nurse with Air-Evac Helicopter, explained how they got into their chosen careers and then had the girls participate Inserting an IV and drawing blood with an artificial arm.  They also showed them how to perform CPR and had a “Gurney Obstacle Course Race” trying not to drop a mannequin “patient” from the gurney through the course.  

Contributed Photo: Air Evac Flight Nurse Samantha Anderson assists students with an IV blood draw in an artificial arm.

Mrs. Karen Preston, EAC Physics Professor, shared the final class with an exciting lesson where the girls built model rockets and learned about the necessary structure and design.  When all had completed their rockets, they gathered together to launch them – all successfully launched from the pad, and all but one of the rockets came down to Earth softly by their parachutes.

The goal of the “Girls-Only” STEM Day-Camp is to provide girls from throughout Eastern Arizona the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from professional women involved in STEM careers, and to empower these girls to aspire for higher education in STEM-related courses, and ultimately pursue STEM-related careers.  We would like to give a special thanks to our four instructors for their sharing excellent lessons and the Graham & Greenlee County United Way for funding our events.  

The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative is a group of teachers and professionals who have come together to improve science education and offer extracurricular STEM activities for students with an interest in the sciences.  If you are interested in participating in any of the EASI activities and events contact Paul Anger, Program Chair of EASI, at paul.anger@eac.edu.

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