On April 15th, the middle school girls at the Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School will visit the County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, NJ. The trip was sponsored by CCM’s Department of Engineering and Women in STEM club, with support from the Bayer Foundation.
During the trip the girls got an inside view into many of CCM’s programs as well as interacting directly with female computer science and engineering students. The students were mesmerized by the tour of the Music Technology Center that includes state of the art recording studios, practice rooms filled with pianos and drums, and a black box theater. Women at NASA was the theme of the planetarium show. The show began with a tour of the night sky, including constellations, planets, and stars. Contributions by female engineers at NASA were also highlighted during the show. Female engineers have been leaders in both the Cassini probe of Saturn and several Mars rovers. An informative and collegial discussion with four female computer science and engineering majors followed. The challenges of majoring in a STEM fields as well as the academic, personal, and professional benefits were all discussed. The visit concluded with a tour of the chemistry instrumentation, rapid prototyping/3D printing, and materials testing labs. Demonstrations of mass spectrometry, 3D printing, and metals testing were both educational and fun!

 

The goal of the field trip is to counteract the negative messages our society sends females indicating  that they are not suited for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) points to studies that show that by first grade, children have already developed an unconscious bias associating boys with math. Additionally, toys frequently reinforce rigid, highly gendered stereotypes that to build or engineer. The AAUW also notes that attrition of girls from the STEM education pipeline occurs as early as seventh grade.  By the end of high school fewer girls than boys plan to pursue STEM in college, an issue that the Academies at GBDS takes seriously.

 

As our relationship with the County College of Morris grows, we look forward to offering more enriching field trips in STEM and the arts.

 

Mrs. Barbach
Academies Coordinator