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Encouraging girls to follow their dreams

The Wise STEAM Mash-up will be back at Acadia later this month. It aims to give girls the opportunity to learn about science while connecting with other girls their own age.
The Wise STEAM Mash-up will be back at Acadia later this month. It aims to give girls the opportunity to learn about science while connecting with other girls their own age.

WOLFVILLE - The Wise STEAM Mash-up is happening once again Aug. 15-16 at Acadia University.

The two-day retreat on Acadia's campus is aimed towards girls going into Grade 7 and 8 who are interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. All meals will be held at the campus dining hall, giving the attendees a taste of what it would be like to study and learn at Acadia University.

The retreat gives girls the opportunity to engage in science while connecting and having fun with other girls their age. There will be sessions related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and art throughout the two days. Some of this years session topics are neuroscience, astronomy, kinesiology, Mi'kmaw botany and women in science.

The sessions will be taught by strong female leaders, and are designed to break down the gender expectations or limitations girls might feel towards science, and create a learning environment that helps them learn in a way that is fun and rewarding.

Amy Prescott, the WISE student president, thinks engaging young girls in science is important.

"Past research shows that ages 11-13 is the critical ages in which a vast number of girls lose interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Prescott said. “By providing the girls with successful female mentors and opportunities to engage in the sciences, we hope to negate the negative effects that influence girls in this age range to become disinterested in STEM."

Randy Newman, a psychology professor at Acadia and a coordinator of the WISE STEAM Mash-up, adds that participating in an all-girls science camp had been shown to increase girls' self efficacy and their sense of belonging in science and math related fields.

“This is extremely important and benefitting to girls as they sustain their interest in possibly pursuing science related careers in their futures,” Newman added.

The retreat is an opportunity for young girls to pursue an interest in science while learning in an environment that is specially designed to help them be successful and feel empowered.

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