Meridian Star

Education

May 14, 2014

Local ninth grade girls explore career options at iCan Girls Engineering Camp

MERIDIAN — Special to The Star

    Mississippi Power Company recently partnered with Meridian High School to host the first iCan Girls in Engineering Camp in the Meridian.

    Held at MCC's Workforce Development Center, the purpose of the day-long interactive event was to raise career awareness and point young girls in the direction of science, technology and engineering-related fields (STEM).

    Twenty-five ninth-grade female students participated in engineering stations – all led by female MPC engineers – where they learned real-life examples of engineering concepts by building a motorized car (mechanical and electrical engineering), constructed a high-heel shoe (industrial and civil engineering), designed a virtual world using computer engineering and chemically engineered lip gloss during the "spa day."

     "Field trips such as this are not just a day away from school but are an extension of the classroom, a creative teaching method that takes the student out of the familiar classroom environment and allows them to actually apply what they have learned,” MHS PBIS Coordinator and Counselor Nicole Worthy said.

     “We hope that from this experience a possible career choice may rise. This experience has at least let them know that it's an option," Worthy said.

     In addition, students listened to talks from female engineers who discussed why they chose engineering and gave examples of why the young students should consider the many lucrative career paths available.

     “The purpose of the event is to foster an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Jennifer Taylor, engineer and commercial market specialist with Mississippi Power Company. “It’s important for female students to realize if they have an interest in these technical fields, there are a number of career paths to choose.

     “Mississippi Power believes it is important to begin workforce development at an early age, and what better place to hire our future engineers and technicians than right here at home,” Taylor said. “A diverse workforce helps generate a creative work environment and is essential to company success.”

     “I’ve always enjoyed math and science and my great-uncle worked for NASA, so I knew there was a future in studying these technical fields,” Taylor said. “I used to hear the terms industrial, mechanical or civil engineering when I was younger and not really understand what it meant. I would have loved to attend a camp like this because students can learn real-world examples of engineering concepts at an age early enough to help make a difference. “

     Meridian High School Principal Victor Hubbard added, “Through the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Small Learning Community at Meridian High School, students are becoming more eager to become part of the field of engineering. We are hoping through the STEM Small Learning Community and events like the iCan Girls Engineering Camp students can truly gain perspective on whether engineering could be a possible career choice for them.“

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