8th Grade Girls Travel to UCA, Learn about STEM

At 5:00 a.m., most teens still have the covers over their head as they sleep soundly. That wasn’t the case for the girls going on the 8th grade science class field trip with their teacher, Mrs. Post. After a 2 ½ hour drive to Conway, the tired girls prepared to learn about STEM at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA).

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is a program designed to encourage students to get interested in science as a career.

Students visited with several female speakers who encouraged them to follow their career dreams in science.

“The speakers encouraged me by saying girls shouldn’t listen to what others say; we should do what we want to do,” Unique Taylor said. “I will apply what I learned about STEM by sticking to what I want to do and having confidence.”

During their time on the UCA campus, these eighth graders learned about jobs for women in science, how women make up only 10% of jobs related to science, and how people have to be willing to travel for the majority of jobs in the field of Earth science.

“I liked learning about all of the different things you can do with a science career,” Michelle Atkins said. “The speakers shared the things they turned out to love doing, and that helped me realize that I may love something that I never thought I would.”

The girls each had their favorite parts of the program.

“My favorite part was the brain class because I learned a lot,” Sajdah Johnson, 8th said. “The speakers gave me hope for being successful in a science career one day.”

Some simply enjoyed visiting with classmates.

“The bus ride was my favorite part because I got to talk to people I usually wouldn’t talk to,” Crystal Young said.

Teachers find value in this program.

“STEM can give students better insight to the careers that use science,” Mrs. Post said. “It might spark an interest in a field they have never seen before.”