Letters to the Editor

Middle school girls get STEM baptism

Robots, rockets, orange juice, interviewing, coral reefs, water, money, CSI, team-building, coding ...

Thanks to over 30 talented and passionate women of Manatee and Sarasota counties who shared their stories and work experiences with middle schools girls on June 4.

These women designed workshops as hands-on, engaging experiences to promote STEM options for the girls and those life savvy skills. Parents of the girls spent their time learning about some of the research about girls and STEM, navigating the world of entering college, financial planning, the teenage brain. USF students shared their stories and tips.

Five college and university tables provided materials to parents and students. Thank you for answering questions and helping to promote future thinking.

Each student received a tote bag , a Tech Savvy t-shirt and everyone had breakfast and lunch. Thanks to those who sponsored these parts of a teenager's experience.

USF Sarasota Manatee provided the perfect setting for this event. To create higher expectations, it helps to see ourselves in roles and places. The campus was perfect to promote that thinking.

The Bradenton Branch of the American Association of University Women received one of 19 national grants to host a day-long event to empower girls to pursue STEM at the critical middle school age. (AAUW research report, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics”).

It was an exciting day to support middle school girls to think about the future. Thanks to our powerful women presenters, College Savvy reps, and USF Sarasota Manatee for helping the Bradenton Branch of AAUW plant seeds for the future.

Elaine Graham