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January 30, 2014

Dissecting cow eyeballs and programming Lego robots will be among the activities sponsored by STEM Chicks, a recently formed student group at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, during a Feb. 19 meeting with a Girl Scout troop at the Coon Rapids Campus.

STEM Chicks formed this fall to support and encourage women and girls to study STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. At the February event, STEM Chicks members will assist faculty members in STEM activities with troop members, ages 7-9.  

Besides dissecting cow eyeballs with Melissa Mills, a college biology instructor; and building and programming Lego robots with William Saari, a college engineering instructor, the girls will investigate Fibonacci numbers, a mathematical pattern found throughout nature with Nina Bohrod, a math instructor.

Girl Scout Troop 15957 Leader Jennifer Klersy said she is excited for the troop members to participate. "These activities are all totally outside of anything we have done before, and I think the girls will love it."

“Encouraging girls’ interest in STEM subjects at an early age is important,” said Bohrod. A 2012 study released by Girl Scout Research Institute found that even though the majority of girls have a high interest in STEM fields, few of them identify a STEM career as their first choice. The study found that girls say they don't know much about STEM careers and the opportunities in these fields.

Ryann Lynch, president of STEM Chicks, said the findings reflect her experience. “I was supported in my interest in chemistry but didn’t know how I could apply it,” said Lynch, who plans to become a pediatrician. “It helps a lot to give girls an idea of what they can do in these fields.”

The study also showed that girls interested in STEM subjects are drawn to creative and hands-on aspects. Specifically, a high percentage of girls interested in STEM subjects like to solve problems (85%), build things and put things together (67%), do hands-on science projects (83%), and ask questions about how things work and find ways to answer these questions (80%), the study showed.

"While we know that the majority of girls prefer a hands-on approach in STEM fields, we also know that girls are motivated to make the world a better place and to help people," Kamla Modi, a research and outreach analyst at the Girl Scout Research Institute said in a news release. “Girl Scouts of the USA is committed to engaging girls in STEM activities and encouraging them to pursue STEM interests both in and outside the classroom, in part through program partnerships."

For more information about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, visit AnokaRamsey.edu.