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Students participate in GE Girls STEM programme

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

GE Girls, a GE Lighting created and sponsored programme designed to increase girls’ interest and participation in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, concluded its yearlong programme at Progressive Field on 14 May. Participating sixth grade students from 15 Northeast Ohio schools came together to celebrate their achievements, participate in the final hands on activity with local female leaders and attend the Cleveland Indians afternoon baseball game.

GE Girls is designed to encourage school girls’ interest in STEM fields, collaborate with regional, leading business partners and engage students in ongoing STEM programmes and events. Since its inception in 2010, more than 300 girls have participated in the GE Girls programme.

“STEM is an exciting, promising field to pursue, and our girls are discovering both their love for it and their ability to succeed through engaging activities,” said Maryrose Sylvester, President & CEO of GE Lighting. “GE Girls has empowered these young women to reach their full potential, encouraging them to build their futures around fields of study with endless opportunity.”

For nearly eight months throughout the 2014 - 2015 school year, 160 girls participated in the GE Girls STEM programme. Led by GE Volunteers who visited classrooms monthly, the students worked in teams learning special lessons in life sciences, electronics, chemistry, computer science, architecture and physics. Each lesson was essential to solving the fun, top secret biofuels mystery.

As part of the concluding event, Sylvester was joined by additional executive women who lead GE Girls’ partner organisations. The STEM leadership role model panel included Sylvester; Barbara R. Snyder, President of Case Western Reserve University; Jane Christyson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio; and Laura Kepley, Artistic Director of the Cleveland Play House.

The panel spoke to the girls about STEM careers and engaged in the morning’s activities. As the final hands on activity, the students, programme volunteers and executive women worked together to construct a marshmallow supported watchtower and learned the outcome of the yearlong mystery.

“My favourite parts about the watchtower are building with my friends and the teamwork,” said Tamia Farris, GE Girls participant and sixth grade student at Caledonia Elementary in East Cleveland. “I like how GE Girls teaches me new things that we don’t learn in regular classes, and we have fun while learning.”

“I loved building a burglar alarm in one of the sessions and learning about circuit boards and what makes something work,” added Christina Troyer, GE Girls participant and sixth grade student at Carylwood Intermediate School in Bedford. “GE Girls inspires me to be a biomechanical engineer when I grow up. I want to study medicine and design technology to treat illnesses, build nanobots and stuff like that. I’m going to be the first woman to cure cancer.”

To encourage continued interest in STEM beyond the students’ programme year, GE Girls is designing an alumni programme.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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