June 9, 2019 – Approximately 50 Denver-area junior high school girls began a free, week-long camp about science, technology, engineering and math today, participating in the second-ever iteration of the GE Girls program at Colorado School of Mines.
GE Girls Camp is designed to encourage girls to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, math and STEM-based careers. The program started in 2011 in partnership with MIT and has since grown to more than 20 locations over the years. This is the second year that Mines has partnered with GE to offer the program in Golden. Additional information can be found on the program website, ge-girls.com.
This year, the Colorado program brings two new activities for campers – the STEM Fair and Alumni Day. On Alumni Day, nearly half of the campers from last year’s event will be back on the Mines campus for a day of fun STEM activities that are all new to them. The STEM Fair will also give current campers and alumni the opportunity to engage with representatives from a wide array of STEM fields to talk about education, career paths and potential jobs within different industries.
During the week, girls will learn about computer science, robotics, chemistry, materials, renewable energy, design and more through a variety of fun activities including a banana suturing lab, building water filters, Electric Quiz Board and tours of three mechanical engineering labs. Other non-technical skills, such as team building, communications and confidence building, collaboration, networking and problem solving, are also an integral part of the GE Girls experience.
“Colorado School of Mines is committed to increasing the number of women who aspire to be engineers, scientists and business leaders,” said Annette Pilkington, director of the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Program at Mines. “GE Girls Camp is a great opportunity for those girls who have shown interest in science to participate in hands-on scientific exploration and, just as important, to work side by side with the women scientists and engineers making a difference in industry, academics and research today.”
As part of the camp experience, girls will also visit the shop floor and testing capabilities of Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in Longmont, to learn from professional engineers what a day at work looks like.
“GE Girls Camp is a wonderful opportunity for young women in our community. This camp provides girls with the chance to be exposed to fields they may not have another opportunity to familiarize themselves with, helps them to build confidence and know all the possibilities that this world holds for them, and is a really fun week for all involved. This camp is also important for the STEM community at large as it will help to build a more diverse STEM community in the future. I feel privileged to be able to partner with GE and Mines to accomplish such an important task,” said Carly Blaes, controls engineer at Baker Hughes, a GE company, and a Mines alumna.
This year, seventh and eighth grade students from Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School are joining students from Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School and D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School, the two Jefferson County schools that participated in the inaugural camp last year.
Over 90 volunteers from several GE businesses and functions, Colorado School of Mines, Jeffco Public Schools and other organizations have given their time to prepare and organize the yearly summer camp, coordinating with local public schools for the selection process, ordering supplies, managing logistics and communications so that all girls have a memorable time during the camp.
“We are excited to run the second GE Girls Camp in partnership with Colorado School of Mines and our Jefferson County schools. We appreciate the opportunity to serve our junior high participants through engagement and interactive STEM activities. I was at the same point in my academic career once, too, so I can appreciate their perspective. Our hope is to provide an excellent, enriching, fun experience for all, so that they may leave after the week with a deeper understanding of the STEM topics that we will be covering throughout camp,” said Ellen Johnson, Bioprocess Solutions Architect at GE Healthcare.
GE continues to be a leader in developing diverse talent 20 years after it first created its Women’s Network. The company continues to work on balancing the equation in technical roles, with assistance from programs such as GE Girls.
Graduates of the GE Girls program have opportunities to pursue college scholarships in cooperation with the GE Women’s Network and Society for Women Engineers (SWE). More information can be found at the SWE scholarship website.