The GEMS club for girls in STEM subjects enables girls to gain the confidence to pursue science, math, technology, and engineering fields and the classes they need to shine in those careers.
Melissa Niemi became frustrated when teaching middle school science when she saw smart girls lack the confidence to persevere. Often, she found that female students who were smart and excelled in other areas were afraid to explore the STEM fields, especially when there didn’t seem to be a clear path.
“They’re not used to failing at anything,” said Niemi, who teaches at Richards Middle Schoo. “When I started teaching here, I had tons of kids crying because, when we do projects, there’s no right answer. They couldn’t get it figured out. But once we started doing it more and more and more, they then sought out those opportunities. It really kind of fueled their creative and their industry.”
Niemi created a club for girls after seeing that math and science clubs were dominated by boys. The GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math and Science club allows girls to excel with collaboration instead of competition.
“Doing it because you want to do it is a whole lot different than doing it because you have to do it,” Niemi said.