Discovery Park Campus hosts ‘girls only’ STEM science day-camp

Contributed Photo: Students learn about coding during a girls-only STEM activity.

Contributed Article

SAFFORD – The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative held its fourth annual G.O. (Girls Only) STEM Science Day-Camp on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the EAC Discovery Park Campus with 27 girls in seventh through ninth 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 an interest in higher-level STEM education and career opportunities. 

Contributed Article: Students learn about geology through the use of 3-D layers of clay.

The girls received lessons and career information through four activities, each instructed by a female instructor 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. Ellen Schmidt, science educator or retired EAC Instructor, shared a fun lesson on “coding” by going online to program Ozobots – small robots that can be programmed to move and perform specific actions to follow a designed pattern. 

The next class was with Mrs. Tammy Gillespie, EAC A&P Professor and Astronomy/Geology Instructor, with an activity to accurately describe the planetary distances and a ride on the Discovery Park Campus’ Space Simulator “Polaris”. The girls broke for a short provided lunch along with lots of laughing and conversations on what they had learned so far and then continued for the remaining two classes. 

Contributed Photo: Students learn about the importance of native species.

Continuing with  Mrs. Belen Perez, Environmental Scientist from Freeport-McMoRan Inc., where the girls discovered the importance of soil condition, restoration and concluded with carefully planting a native plant species to take home for permanent planting. 

The final activity was shared by Mrs. Devon Smith, Geologist II from Freeport-McMoRan Inc., with a fun activity demonstrating the amazing local geology through colored 3-D layers of clay while explaining actions like intrusions and fault lines.   

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. Special Thanks to Freeport-McMoRan for their sharing excellent instructors for the day, 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 with any of the EASI activities and events contact Paul Anger, Chair of EASI, at