Pink hats, pink safety goggles and pink fingernails, this group is out to give the STEM field a makeover.
“With STEM Divas we want to embrace that femininity that pink, the jewelry, the lip balm, the glitter and all that. We want the girls and the boys and everyone to know that girls in engineering and computers and sciences, they’re not nerdy girls, they’re not just the ones with glasses, they can wear jewelry, they can wear lip stick and it’s ok,” said Pettee Guerrero, NIU STEM Outreach Associate.
Geared toward girls but open for all, this group of 7-12 year old Divas, set out to learn more about STEM under the guidance of Pettee Guerrero, a former engineer who started the group after noticing first-hand that there were too few women in the field.
Gathering other female STEM enthusiasts, she decided to teach girls why they are necessary in this field.
“We need the female perspective, we need to tell our point of view, we need to tell them why do we need a product designed the way it is and why do we need a process the way it is, from our point of view,” said Guerrero.
“I took a lot of physics classes and I never once had a female teacher and I think that’s kind of backwards, so I think that this is sort of the program to encourage at a young age, anybody and everybody, it doesn’t matter if you think you’re good at it, you can be and it can be fun,” said Erin Spencer, Graduate Assistant with NIU STEM Outreach.
The program was piloted at Northern Illinois University, and after great feedback, was brought to the Naperville campus for seasonal classes.
This time around the Divas were invited to spend their Saturday learning about engineering by making LED light up bracelets and practicing chemistry by mixing their own lip balm, glitter and all.
A fashion forward lesson with a forward thinking message.
“They need more girls in the technology and engineering, anybody can do it, it’s really fun and I think all girls should try and do it because it’s a good way to express yourself and stuff like that,” said Avery Erickson, a participant of STEM Divas.
“I like that it’s a good learning experience so that we can all do it and I like it,” said Natalie Dean, a participant of STEM Divas.
STEM Divas hopes to offer even more classes for young divas in the fall.
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