Jun 4, 2018 | By: Anthony Scott

Sci-Girls Sparks Interest In The STEM Fields

In recent years, there has been a push to get more girls interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, otherwise known as STEM. The Brainerd Public Library has started a new program called “Sci-Girls” to try and accomplish that goal.

“It is almost limitless with what you can create” said Alyssa Lennander, an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Brainerd Public Library.

Last fall, the Brainerd Public Library acquired a new 3D printer capable of printing anything from a simple bookmark to artificial body parts. The idea behind the printer is to get the younger generation, especially young girls, excited about jobs in the STEM fields.

“It’s a nationwide, possibly a worldwide issue, that young girls aren’t in STEM as much as they probably should be,” Lennander said.

According to Lennander, less than fifteen percent of engineers are women, and to combat this problem, the Brainerd Library created a program called “Sci-Girls”, where young girls can come in every week and participate in activities related to STEM.

Today’s “Sci-Girl” challenge was to take a bunch of random household objects and turn them into another object that shows neutral buoyancy.

“Neutral buoyancy is when it’s not at the top of the water, but it’s not all the way sunk, it’s somewhere in between,” said Hannah Ellstrom, a sixth grader at Cross Lake Community School.

It sounds easy, but the young engineers struggled at first.

“I tried with scissors, I tried taping the scissors to the Styrofoam cup, but it kept leaking water so it just got more air and wouldn’t sink,” Ellstrom said.

But you can’t discredit their determination…

“The girls today, they were so dedicated and motivated in getting their neutral buoyancy, and that’s what I love about STEM. It creates that mindset,” Lennander said.

Sci-Girls is stemming young girls’ interest in the field, and the library hopes to incorporate the 3D printer into their future classes. The program will be back next Monday with another event in Brainerd, and the library is currently taking requests for anyone in the community that wants something 3D printed.

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