GRANTS PASS, Ore. — As many schools pivot toward putting greater emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and skilled trades, Rogue Community College is helping to make sure that it isn't just men going into those fields.
"STEM is traditionally a more male-dominated field, and so to be able to offer that to all girls — where they're the ones that get the focus and the attention in class — is a big benefit for them," said Bethany Ok-Carr, an instructor at the Verizon Innovative Learning Girls Summer Camp — a tuition-free, three-week program for middle school girls.
During the program, the girls will get hands-on experience with multiple technologies.
"They get to use 3-D printers and vinyl cutters, all different kinds of iPads, AR/VR equipment, circuitry," said Ok-Carr — all technologies that many of the students wouldn't normally be able to get their hands on. "Being able to get students access to these materials and technologies is just not something we would normally get to do in the classroom."
Each girl gets a tablet during the duration of the program. Lunch and transportation are paid-for through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley, and a one-year membership to the Boys and Girls Clubs is included.
Though the three-week program ends on Thursday, the girls will get to return one Saturday a month throughout the school year.
The RCC program was developed in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and Arizona State University, and it is expected to impact 1,500 girls across sixteen community college campuses.