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Change for tomorrow starts now

Lindsay Jones, Connections Engineering Outreach Coordinator, instructs young students during the Little STEMS Pilot PA Day Program
Lindsay Jones, Connections Engineering Outreach Coordinator, instructs young students during the Little STEMS Pilot PA Day Program. (Supplied photo)

Connections Engineering Outreach of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science recently held a Little STEMS Pilot PA Day Program for girls ages five to 10 on Jan. 31, the first of its kind on a university campus.

The day was focused not only on learning about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but also encouraging girls to explore options in engineering science. A key message to these girls was ensuring they know there is a need for them and their unique perspectives in these respective fields of study. The day was filled with robotics, coding and confidence building.

The PA Day camp was a resounding success – 28 girls gained knowledge of the different streams of engineering and what they are, and were given an introduction to coding. The participants used the robots known as Dash and Ozobot and programmed their robots to complete a variety of tasks.  

The activity combined different aspects of STEM.

“I’m so proud of this day and all of the girls who attended,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.” To hear that Grade 2 students Sloane Camirand is interested in math and science, and that Victoria Jeffrey wants to be an astronaut, and Sadie Gould might want to be an engineer one day, is all the more reason to start discussing STEM with girls now, and keep their interest in these fields alive and growing. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has always been committed to fostering innovation, and with that commitment we must pledge to be inclusive, remove barriers and join the conversation promoting women in STEM.”

United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science
“To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science.”
– UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The Little STEMS Pilot PA Day Program was offered in advance of the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science.  The UN recognizes Feb. 11 as a day for the global community to join together to confront gender biases in science, celebrate those who are leading innovation, and to change the narrative to eliminate the exclusion of women and girls in science. 

“Today I learned to code with colors on an Ozobot and that girls can do anything the boys can. It was a really great day,” says senior kindergarten student Madison Lumb.

Programs like Little STEMS are part of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s commitment to removing barriers for women and girls in science, and engaging and inspiring a love of curious thought about the world around us.    

“We do have a gender imbalance in science and I’m proud to work for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s University, because our faculty and staff see the importance of getting girls interested in science,” says Outreach Coordinator Lindsay Jones. “STEM and the innovation it drives is the future and my job is to make sure girls know they are just as much apart of solving the challenges of the future as their male peers.”

The Little STEMS Pilot PA Day Program would not have been possible without the Connections Engineering Outreach team, the support from the entire Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and funding from Actua Canada, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization.

 “I’m really great at reading, but days like today remind me I’m also really good at science and math,” says Grade 4 student Lily Gould.