Introducing Girls to STEM


Photo | Jaiden Kubena

Monica Martinez, Staff Writer

Displaying 3D printers at work alongside coding and circuiting stations, the school hosted the first Girls’ STEM night April 3 in the Building 10 multipurpose room.

Girls from elementary to high school level were invited to take part in the event. Booth stations included Barnes and Noble, UALR’s college of Engineering and members of the Athena all girls robotics team.

“I loved seeing all the kids at different stations, and I loved the feeling of [being] a part of the STEM program,” junior Sydney Young said.

Station activities included Codesters and Ozobots set up by UALR engineering students. At these stations, students would draw a path on paper for the golf ball-sized robot to follow. Barnes and Noble representatives displayed a product called Magformers, which are magnetic, geometric shapes designed for children to build with and enhance their creativity. Dash and Dot, programmable robots for children aged five and up, were also at the event. These robots are programmed on an app through interactive play and are designed to teach coding to younger ages.

“Dash and Dot was my favorite station,” Young said. “It was fun to play with, and it was so advanced.”

Freshman Ruth Rinehart is a programmer for Athena who was working the H.E.A.T. booth.

“We were showing kids what our engineering program is as a whole, not just robotics,” Rinehart said. “Our main focus was showcasing the girls’ team robot, explaining the design and how she works along with what she is supposed to do out on the field in a match.”

The district not only provides opportunities in STEM for high school students, but also elementary students. Project Lead the Way has been incorporated into elementary schools in recent years. The middle school also has an engineering program that includes robotics, programming and Autodesk Inventor computer design among other activities. The high school has a prominent engineering and programming curriculum.

“I think the school hosted the event to try and heighten the number of girls in the STEM field,” Rinehart said. “If the girls that attended enjoy it, they could continue it in high school or college. It could definitely become an amazing career plan.”

The nation’s efforts in exposing more women to the STEM career field is constantly increasing, and Bryant has also made increasing efforts in expanding programs to all age levels.

“I think it [could] inspire girls to actually go into the field and pursue jobs in it,” Young said. “Not a lot of [women] are in the field, and as a nation we need to reach out to young girls that are interested in these types of things.”