Nerd Squad makes STEM Fun
by Cagney Coomer
Upon graduating from Virginia State University in 2010 with a B.S in Biology I had a vast knowledge in many things in the science world but I had no real knowledge of how to apply the things I knew to real life situations. I went to interview after interview and they always told me the same thing. "You seem very intelligent but we are looking for someone with more experience." So I was faced with a dilemma how do I get the experience I need if no one is even willing to give me a chance. So I began to research different programs that trained lab techs. I figured if I could just get my foot in the door then maybe I could and would have a chance to be successful in this field. That's when I found the biotech program at BCTC and after much investigation I decided I would give it a shot. As I began my journey at BCTC I had no idea how all of this would change my frame of thinking. By joining the undergraduate research team and volunteering in many outreach activities I began to change they way I thought about my career in this industry. In 2012, I was asked to present my poster at the ATE conference in Washington, D.C. There the keynote speaker began to talk about the lack of women in STEM. And as I looked around the room it became very apparent that there really is a LACK of women in STEM fields. So after this I began to research why women don't pursue STEM careers, I got a lot of feedback but one major thing I realized was that there is a serious lack of interest. From there NERD SQUAD was born.
NERD SQUAD is a non-profit STEM outreach program, we highlight many aspects of STEM and create interactive activities that inspire and encourage an interest in the STEM fields. We create an environment in which children want to ask questions and learn. We encourage our young minds to understand how science, technology, engineering and math are apart of their everyday lives. I noticed that when children her science, math, and engineering they automatically relate it to being "hard and boring". The activities we do show them just how fun and exciting STEM fields really are and at the same time putting them in a situation where they realize just how capable they are at doing well in these areas. We also change the image of what they relate to being intelligent and being a nerd. We show them that you can be cool and be a nerd. I think that we have to change the way they think in order to change the way they behave and we can't preach they sky is the limit if we don't show them the whole universe is out there.
Welcome to the Kentucky Girls STEM Website! We hope this site helps you learn how to help Kentucky girls reach their potential in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Although we have made strides in some areas, girls are not succeeding at high enough numbers in careers such as computer science, engineering and physics. Kentucky and the United States will not have enough workers to fill science and engineering jobs if girls are not prepared to succeed in STEM careers.
Feel free to browse through the site, learn more about us and how you can become more involved in helping girls achieve their goals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Thanks for visiting!
Czarena Crofcheck & Sue Scheff, Co-Chairs
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KentuckyGirlsStemCollaborative
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