Verizon donation makes STEM summer camp for girls free of charge

Local girls will get to explore the worlds of biomedical engineering, aerospace technology and clean energy for free this summer thanks to a donation from Verizon.

Girls will enjoy a field trip to local STEM-related companies. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Girls can enjoy a field trip to local STEM-related companies. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Lexington-Richland School District Five is continuing its summer girls-only STEM camp at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies, where Bob Couch successfully landed a $10,000 grant from the wireless company. Verizon executive Bob Davis dropped by the Center on Thursday to bring the check and see what students have been learning.

“We are committed to STEM education,” Davis said.

The center is Lexington-Richland Five’s home of interactive and tailored learning, and 60 middle school girls will be able to dive deep into STEM-related fields at Femineers Verizon Explorers Camp for a week. Couch said the grant from Verizon will double the number of spots and make the camp free, eliminating any financial barrier for interested students.

“Part of our responsibility here is to introduce students to future careers,” he said.

Seniors Alexa Eyring and Kayla Shine say they know firsthand the importance of making the right opportunities available. Both girls are pursuing STEM-related fields and volunteered at last summer’s girls-only Camp Operation medical camp.

“(It was exciting to) see these girls who are genuinely interested,” Eyring said.

“They are getting a jump start on their future,” Shine agreed.

Eyring said it was a summer camp years ago that inspired her to begin studying the field of biomedical engineering, which she hopes to use in the area of neuroscience. She and Shine, who plans to study biochemistry in college with the goal of becoming a pediatrician, had a personal message for the girls who’ll attend the Femineers camp in search of their career path.

“There are preconceived notions (about STEM), but don’t let that stop you,” Shine said.

“Don’t let the (fact) that men dominate the (STEM) field be a drawback … Go for it,” Eyring agreed. “Make a change.”

Couch said he plans to seek more grants and sponsorships to keep the summer camp open to as many girls as possible in the future.

Categories: Education, Lexington County, Richland County

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