UWF holds camps for girls interested in STEM

By Jamir Sellers
Staff writer

The hit movie “Hidden Figures” has inspired groups of women from around the world to dedicate their time to travel the United States with the mission to promote education and careers for girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Brian Eddy — computer science professor at the University of West Florida and one of many inspired by “Hidden Figures” — runs a camp where girls ages 8 to 11 years old can learn more about computer science and not be intimidated by it.  The camp has been operating since January, and it occurs twice a month on a weekend with Eddy, his wife, and volunteers serving as counselors to the girls.  

“The main issue is attracting girls to the field because of lack of passion, and sociological factors, because our culture pushes our girls to either be stay at home mothers or traditional occupational roles,” Brian Eddy said. (Photo by Jamir Sellers)

It is a first-come, first-served event, and the camp encourages fun while also teaching the girls about the internet and internet safety, having them realize what they put online can be seen by anyone.

“The main issue is attracting girls to the field because of lack of passion, and sociological factors,” Eddy said, “because our culture pushes our girls to either be stay-at-home mothers or traditional occupational roles.”

The camp has attracted the attention of a national STEM group of women from various countries across all five continents.  Jena C. Melancon, executive director of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, helped set up the meeting for these women to hear about Eddy’s camp.  The STEM group arrived at the University of West Florida on Oct. 16 to meet with Eddy.

The camp  has attracted the attention of a national STEM group of women from all five continents. (Photo by Jamir Sellers)

“To prepare for this group, we reached out to STEM educators throughout the region and created a local itinerary which complements their national one,” Jena C. Melancon, executive director of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, said.

Eddy said that his main expectation of this program is that girls will know it is not a bad thing to like computer science, because if the girls can tell their families and friends about their experiences with their program, they can really develop something special here in the community.

One Response to UWF holds camps for girls interested in STEM

  1. Hi Jamir,
    Thanks for the note about our visit. A few details for accuracy, you know we scientists are quite fun of her ( accuracy in Castilian is a “she” ;D ). In the international group of #HiddenNomore #IVLP visiting UWF, we were from all around the world, not just Europe and Asia. Actually, I am from Ecuador and we were also from Egypt, Chile, Australia and Bermudas; so you have all 5 continents. That’s is part of the greatness of this program sponsored by the US Department of State and 21st Century Fox.
    On Brian Eddy project (CaTs) to take computer science close to girls, it was a very assertive choice by Jena C. Melancon, executive director of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council. We did not about CaTs before, thus it is nice they were selected as part of our visiting places.
    Saying so, I would very appreciate an update on your note text “The camp has attracted the attention of a national STEM group of women from European and Asian countries. Jena C. Melancon, executive director of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, helped set up the meeting for these women to hear about Eddy’s camp”
    Finally, it is very good you are contributing to CaTs project visibility and the role of women in STEM with this note. Congratulations and thanks for that!
    Best regards,
    Dr. Patricia Castillo-Briceno, Science Researcher & AdvisorManta – Ecuador.

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