The Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences (AARMS) and the University of New Brunswick will be hosting a Girl Guides weekend camp encouraging girls to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematic disciplines.
On May 12 and 13, more than 500 girls between the ages of nine and 18 who are members of the Girl Guides organization from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will be taking part in All SySTEMs Go, hosted by AARMS on the UNB Fredericton campus.
“This event gives girls the opportunity to experience the world of mathematics and science, because they may not be able to in the communities that they live in,” says Beth Campbell, Girl Guides provincial commissioner of N.B. and P.E.I. “It gives them a wider view of what job opportunities are available to women.”
Over the two days, the girls will be taking part in activities that promote and increase awareness and engagement of women in STEM fields.
Starting on Saturday morning, the girls will take their first of six 45-minute workshops, one in each of the STEM disciplines, to expose them to different aspects of the field. Workshops will be run by UNB faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and will cover a wide range of topics and activities related to the mathematical sciences.
The girls will also attend a Q&A panel where they will have the opportunity to pose questions to scientists from the various STEM fields.
“Girl Guides always strives to provide an environment that challenges girls to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. One of the things that AARMS was striving for was to get more girls involved in STEM fields. We thought that this would be a great partnership and that’s how we developed this program,” says Ms. Campbell.
The camp will also give girls the chance to experience a university campus for the first time and expose them to all the options and opportunities post-secondary education can provide.
The director of AARMS, Dr. Sanjeev Seahra, participated in summer camps at the University of Toronto and there developed his love for university and university life as a youth.
“I had the opportunity to be on campus, stay in residence, talk to university professors and learn what they thought was interesting. That experience left a great impression on me,” says Dr. Seahra, an associate professor in the department of mathematics and statistics at UNB Fredericton.
There will be a wide variety of mini-workshops, in such fields as chemistry, geology and civil engineering. Each lab will give the girls a chance to learn and discover the possibilities within mathematical science. The sessions include programming drones and robots, and solving a mystery in a chemistry lab.
“As our society’s dependence on advanced technology increases, it is imperative that young women be made aware of all the STEM career paths that are available to them,” says Dr. Seahra. “One way to do that is engage them at an early age and expose give them to what’s out there and what’s possible.”
This event is part of Science Odyssey, a ten-day celebration of discovery and innovation that engages and inspires Canadians of all ages with activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Photo: Girl Guides conduct lab experiments at a camp. Girl Guides and the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences are hosting a weekend camp at UNB Fredericton to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM. Credit: BC Girl Guides.