The nearly 20 girls and one boy who attended the first meeting of the Girls in STE(A)M club, held during MP on October 5, were challenged to work in groups to build the tallest, free-standing structure with a bundle of pipe cleaners in a limited amount of time.
Club co-founder Emma Wawrzynek ’17 added stumbling blocks along the way – instructing each student to put one hand behind their back as they worked to create their structure, then telling the students they had to work in silence.
Through the activity, the students learned about teamwork and project planning, and how to navigate a project with limited resources and constraints – skills needed to succeed in fields like structural and civil engineering.
Girls in STE(A)M was founded this year by Wawrzynek and Kai Morton ’17 with the goal of encouraging young women to be more involved in the science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics field. The club moderators are science teacher Ming-Ching Wong and art teacher Brianna Loewinsohn.
“At O’Dowd, we plan to invite guest speakers, coordinate field trips to local events or tours of local businesses and organizations, provide resources and help to allow students to enter STEM competitions and projects (such as the Google Science Fair) or find volunteer and work opportunities in those fields, and supply peer tutoring for STEM courses at our school,” Wawrzynek said.
“Outside of the O’Dowd student body, we hope to visit local schools to speak to girls about the STEM fields and allow them to participate in small experiments and education activities. We also want to invite schools or groups (such as Girl Scouts) to O’Dowd in order to do similar activities and talks,” she added.
Girls in STE(A)M also hopes to pair with the Career Partnership Program, Robotics Club, and the E-Club for further opportunities, and would like to reach out to the individuals in organizations like WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) at UC Berkeley and Black Girls CODE in order to gain community support.
The club is open to everyone and welcomes male students who support girls in their pursuit of STE(A)M. Contact Emma Wawrzynek to learn when the club’s next meeting will take place (the club meets in Room 204) or to get more information about the club.