Science center hosts Girls STEAM program on March 7

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Science center hosts Girls STEAM program on March 7

February 24, 2020 - 18:09
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Meghan Ostermann, who works for SpaceX, talks to a group of girls about her work during the 2018 Girls STEAM Ahead event sponsored by the Homewood Science Center. (Chronicle file photo)
SpaceX employee Meghan Ostermann talked to a group of girls about her work during the 2018 Girls STEAM Ahead event sponsored by the Homewood Science Center. (Chronicle file photo)

The Homewood Science Center will welcome 150 girls for its 2020 Girls STEAM Ahead program March 7.

Idlewild Country Club in Flossmoor will be filled with 100 professional women mingling with the junior high and high school girls from 38 school districts who are interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM).

“The guiding principles behind Girls STEAM Ahead are we focus on exposure to STEAM careers and education paths," said Holly Kelsven, program manager at the Homewood Science Center. "In the 21st century you still need to build on teamwork, creativity, communication and collaboration. These are all skills they need to be successful.”

The program is also meant to give girls a chance to develop self-efficacy through goal setting, she said, “because self-efficacy is a precursor to success and outcomes, so we’re applying that in a STEAM-related event.”

Participating in a program like Girls STEAM Ahead will be a new experience for many, Kelsven said. The program will open with the Showcase, a chance for girls to walk from table to table and talk one-to-one with women in the STEAM fields.

“They bring hands-on things for the girls to try or touch. Anything that is going to excite and interest the student in this work,” Kelsven said. 

Showcase selections include “Cleaning with Chemistry,” “The Wonderful World of Soil,” “Interacting Art and Technology with LED Fashions." Speakers on hand will be from the Forest Preserves of Cook County, United Way, Prairie State College and Keslo Camera, a business that leases cameras for TV shows in Chicago, such as “Chicago Fire.”

The Society of Women Engineers will have each participant make electric wands using circuitry.

Guest speakers will include 6th District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller; Steffanie Forbes presenting on the power of playful learning and a future in STEAM using Legos; and a team of women from the University of Chicago who will talk about the link between STEAM jobs and the places in the world the jobs have taken them.

Schneider Electric is the major sponsor of the event. The luncheon sponsor is Enbridge; technology sponsor is Gallagher Asphalt; STEAM Showcase sponsor is Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC; transportation sponsor is Flossmoor Service League. Additional support is provided by the Homewood Business Association and Homewood Florist.

A donation drive to cover the $50 cost of a girl attending the program is being spearheaded by Willa Lee of Homewood. Donations to Team Willa can be made through homewoodsciencecenter.org.

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