NVCC’s Gear UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program), STARBASE (a nationwide STEM education program designed for fifth graders) and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Division teamed up with the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) to host a G20 Summit on Friday, October 24 from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm on the NVCC campus. Over 100 eighth-grade GEAR UP female students engaged in STEM related activities to foster awareness of STEM careers, encourage young women to explore STEM related subjects in high school and beyond, and to provide resources to young female students which will prepare them for success in college.
The day’s events were held in Technology Hall and the young women heard remarks from NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5). NVCC’s STEM division lead the following hands-on workshops which engaged the students to:
- Use the Engineering Design Process to build a tall structure from spaghetti, string and a marshmallow
- Explore chromatography, a laboratory technique to separate different pigment in leaves
- Become an engineer by designing a race car out of food
- Identify skeletal remains stolen from a graveyard using DNA fingerprinting
- Learn about planting, cultivation and harvesting healthy foods
- Study the spread of disease in a “zombie outbreak”
- Become an electrical engineer and assemble a LED flashing circuit
- Create a 3-D design
Peter S. Angelastro, Ph.D. stated that the goal of the event was to close the gender gap in STEM-related fields, particularly the physical sciences, engineering and technology. “By having women professionals lead workshops, we hope that the young women will relate to these role models and be able to picture themselves as future scientists and engineers.”
Administered through NVCC’s Bridge to College Office, the GEAR UP program is a seven-year, state-funded grant program designed to significantly increase the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in college by providing early intervention, testing, advising and academic and social support.