UC Berkeley engineering college gets students excited about STEM

BERKELEY, Calif. — The College of Engineering at the University of California Berkeley is fanning the flames this summer that will engage more girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

The camps are part of a pilot program run by the college of engineering as part of an effort to narrow the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Each summer there are two one-week sessions with 30 participants for each week. Instructors are professors, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students, covering topics ranging from nanotechnology to data science. By design, nearly all instructors are women.

In one workshop, instructor Lavanya Jawaharlal, a UC Berkeley senior in mechanical engineering and co-creator of the Pi-Bot robotics kit, insisted that the girls master the “proper names” and functions of the robotic parts they were about to assemble. They went over terms like chassis, micro-controller and breadboard, a platform used to build electronic circuits.

“I like how they don’t treat us like babies and water things down,” said camper Maddy Jones, 12, a rising seventh-grader at Montera Middle School. “They talk to us like adults.”

The program was launched last year with funding from the National Science Foundation, UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering and the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation. This year, the program picked up support from Twitter and SanDisk Corp.

There is no cost to attend, but girls must apply. (This year, the organizers received three applications for every spot available.)

Video courtesy: Berkeley

Source: Berkeley

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Dean Anderson

Based in Rome, Dean Anderson is an awarding-winning freelance journalist with 23 years of experience as a writer and photographer. Dean is a freelance contributor for a number of publications including the Associated Press. He enjoys spending his free time traveling Europe w...