Wow! Girls of Steel had an incredibly busy and productive summer designing, leading and mentoring four of our very own camps!
We kicked off the summer with the Girls of Steel NCWIT Aspire IT Summer Camp “Programming Your Future with Robotics!” at Carnegie Mellon University on June 15-19. The purpose of the camp was to encourage more girls to see themselves doing computing and robotics in the future. We had 18 girls in grades 6 to 8 with mentors Sophia, Sylvia, Sonia, Alexa, and Corinne. The students had a lot of fun learning while building and programming LEGO® MindstormsTM EV3 robots, designing, building, and programming robots made with the Hummingbird kit, and collaborating in groups. They also learned about careers in STEM through awesome field trips to 4moms and Google as well as discussions with a panel of women in STEM. On the last day, we had a Showcase Day where the campers shared their robots with their friends and families. In addition, the girls at this camp had a chance to earn digital badges through our participation with Pittsburgh’s City of Learning initiative. For example, students could earn digital badges in programming, robot design, career awareness, and collaboration. The camp was featured in the media here. “As a mentor, I think the most powerful thing I experienced was to see the girls’ excitement and determination about STEM. It really surprised me, in a good way, how they were so willing to collaborate and set on reaching their high goals.” Sponsors include the Alcoa Foundation, NCWIT, and the Sprout Fund.
Our 3rd Annual Girls of Steel Robotics Feiyue Summer Camp, a 2-week camp for 21 visiting high school students from China, was a huge success again! In addition to learning robotics, students explored Pittsburgh, ate new foods, met many new people and had fun. Feiyue instructors developed an engaging curriculum that involved lectures and lab activities focused on teaching an important foundation of skills in computer programming, computer-aided design, electronics and mechanical design. Following the preparatory lessons in the first week, students formed two teams and participated in a capstone project or competition during the second week. Our TA Training Week was from July 6-10 and classes were from July 20-31 during the weekdays. The GoS mentors Anne Kailin, Vishi, Gigi, Alayna, Helen, Molly, Maddie, and Sree, also worked with former GoS, Grace. To send off the campers, the mentors hosted a fantastic barbecue at Schenley Park. “I loved getting to know the Chinese students and it was fun building a robot together.” “I signed up to be a mentor as part of a summer research project for my school. Being a mentor was a life-changing experience. I loved every moment!”
We held Girls of Steel Introduction to FTC and Robotics Summer Camp for 18 middle school girls during August 3-7. This was our first outreach activity supported by the Benedum Foundation grant to hold robotics camps and workshops to serve students in Washington, Fayette, and Greene Counties. It was held at California University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Innovation in Canonsburg, PA. “The camp introduced girls to Hummingbird equipment and First Tech Challenge Tetrix kits. They played with Snap Circuits and enjoyed the lessons and snacks.” Our GoS mentors included Natalie, Lauren, Priya, Gayathri, and Mhairi. “I really enjoyed working with the FTC girls! It was really fun, but I also feel like I learned a lot.” “It’s also really nice to be around so many middle school girls who love math and science, because I feel like middle school is where girls start to get the idea that boys are the ones that do STEM.” Additional support was provided by the Alcoa Foundation.
Our 2nd Annual Girls of Steel FIRST LEGO League Skills Summer Camp during August 10-14 at Practice Field was a tremendous success and you can read even more about it in an article published by Pittsburgh Youth Media. It had 24 campers with mentors Priya, Gayathri, Vishi, and Anna and junior mentor, Hannah. The students in this camp had a chance to earn digital badges through our participation with Pittsburgh’s City of Learning initiative. For example, students could earn digital badges for programming, research, robot design, teamwork, and mentoring. “The FLL Camp was great! I thought it was a fun and educational experience for both students and mentors, and the kids seemed interested in their work.” “What inspired me was how much the kids could accomplish in a week especially when compared to the year long program. What I liked the best was how motivated the kids were. It was great!” “I was in FLL last year and really liked it, so I knew I wanted to mentor the camp this year. I loved the social events we did with the kids because we really got to know them.” Camp sponsors include the Alcoa Foundation and the Sprout Fund.