An all female STEM camp is brightening the future for 70 bright and innovative middle schools girls. The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids, SEEK Jackson, builds experiences for girls of color to solve problems, practice engineering skills, and demonstrate to themselves and each other just how smart they are.
At Blackburn Middle School in Jackson, Mississippi, girls are competing in a wind turbine power challenge to conclude the time they have spent in engineering challenges and some good energetic playtime where they connected with each other.
“I enjoy the competition,” said Karis McGowan who is considering a career in math or the sciences, “not to see who is best, but which class learned well.” She has attended SEEK since age 7. Her parents were formerly employed in STEM fields – her dad is now a pastor and was a mechanical engineer and her mom was a pharmacist.
“I’m smart and creative at times. I’m capable of many things so I don’t always have to win,” she said about the camp only being for girls. “A lot of boys become engineers but SEEK proves that girls can accomplish just as much.”
SEEK is now in its 11th year, and is a free program for three weeks geared to third through fifth graders. Many of the mentor-instructors are collegiate members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
“The growing demand for technical talent in the U.S. and abroad has societal implications in solving complex problems like energy, agriculture, clean water and security. Since its inception in 2007, NSBE’s SEEK program has given over 20,000 young people from previously untapped populations the confidence, proficiency and high aspirations to become engineers and the global problem solvers that the world demands,” said Karl Reid, Ed.D., executive director, NSBE.