ELY – About two-dozen Ely-area girls of middle school age spent last Saturday in advanced learning workshops at Vermilion Community College. The Ely branch of the American Association of University …
ELY – About two-dozen Ely-area girls of middle school age spent last Saturday in advanced learning workshops at Vermilion Community College. The Ely branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) hosted their annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Workshop.
The event allowed girls in grades 5-8 to learn about various aspects of science in a fun atmosphere. The subjects all included extremely hands-on activities to give the students an active role.
Cliffs Natural Resources representatives Julie Lucas, Cori Ehholm and Jessica Taylor talked about the process of turning rocks into steel. Students used magnets to separate sand from iron ore material. “I liked how the ore made our hands all dirty as we separated it from the sand,” said Cedar Ohlhauser.
Engineering students from Itasca Community College gave a quick lesson in electricity and then helped students make insulating and conducting dough material to complete electrical circuits with batteries, wire and light bulbs. Sydney Krekelberg said, “I was really amazed at how the electricity can travel through the dough.”
Derek and Cheryl Passe and Emily Nelson from the Lake County Soil and Water District taught students about invasive species and the journey the microscopic “aliens” make on their way to lakes and stream in northeast Minnesota. Katie Pinckney wore a hat that resembled a spiny water flea, and demonstrated how the invasive species swims, while her partner, Julie Schwinghammer, described the pest.
Why STEM? The day finished with VCC students and staff conducting a question and answer period about the program.
‰ A STEM background is excellent preparation for leadership in careers across the spectrum;
‰A foundation in STEM promotes creativity and critical thinking skills;
‰ Eighty-percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend upon mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge;
‰ In the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than non-STEM jobs;
‰In the next few years, tech-related fields are expected to produce 1.4 million new jobs in the U.S.;
‰ In general, STEM jobs offer good pay for all workers;
‰ Women working in STEM fields earn 92 cents for every dollar a man earns, versus an overall pay gap of 75 cents.
Ely STEM event coordinator Jeanne Tomlinson said the group works hard to give the students a fun day. “We really try to make the programs different each year so the students have as much opportunity as possible to learn all about different science and engineering subjects,” she said.
The event was made possible by the AAUW Ely Branch in collaboration with VCC, and grants from Lake Country Power Operation Round-Up and AAUW of Minnesota.