Local engineering camp trains young women talent

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Companies and universities hoping to cultivate fresh talent are investing more in camps, retreats and workshops for young women and minorities. Here in Columbus, a local summer camp training young women to enter engineering fields wrapped up it’s 5th summer session today.

In a woodshop, twenty-six 8th grade middle school girls work in small groups, sawing, hammering and drilling their projects. Wearing safety googles and shouting over the loud machines, the girls put together their own hovercrafts. Supervised by women engineers, the middle school girls were part of a week-long Future Engineers Summer Camp.

The camp is part of a large effort encouraging young women to pursue engineering careers. For Hilltona Middle School student Brittany Frazier, the program is giving her support outside a typical classroom. Frazier says she loves science and math but has heard the subjects are not for girls. She says learning from other women engineers gives her role models.

“I heard it in school sometimes because they don’t think girls are as achieving as boys and I hear it in my house because of my Dad. Its showing that girls can do the exact same things that most men can do,” Fraizer said.

Westerville Middle School student Lauren Johnson says the camp is much more interesting than a typical classroom.

“Most of it is stuff from textbooks and if it’s activities it’s activities that come from the books,” Johnson said.

Johnson says she likes working with other young girls who share her interests.

“You don’t have any guys being like ‘Oh, you’re a girl, you can’t do all this’ and everyone here seems interested,” Johnson said.

Bexley Middle School students, Becky Sigal and Ruth Hay say engineering is not a subject they would traditionally learn in school.

“This is cool! It’s like you don’t do this in school,” they said.

After putting the final touches on their hovercrafts, the students plugged in their ShopVac’s and tested out their new creation. It worked.

While this is not your traditional summer camp, these middle school students did not mind getting a piece of science in the summer.

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