Saturday, October 1, 2022

Local Middle School Girls Practice STEM Education

By Miranda Crosby contributor

Instructor Tiffany Gray helps student Alex Ritchie build a rocket out of cardstock. Photo by Miranda Crosby.

The University of Mississippi’s Outreach Programs hosted the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp for Girls at Brevard Hall July 15–20. The Office of Pre-College Programs and The School of Engineering sponsored the camp.
“STEM is the learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through an integrated approach – one that offers hands-on and relevant learning experiences,” said student instructor Rodney Kemper, a biology medical engineering major at Ole Miss. 
Tiffany Gray, project manager of STEM outreach at Ole Miss, said she has hosted the girls STEM camp for about five years but had been a part of the program since 2010.
“We have STEM camps for high school and middle school, and I enjoy teaching both,” Gray said.
On Wednesday the students made rockets out of cardstock and launched them outside, measuring the angle to distance to see how far they reached. Some rockets launched as far as 50 feet and landed in the trees in the Grove. 
Students prepare to lauch their cardstock rockets in The Grover. Photo by Miranda Crosby.

Kemper said various departments on campus hosted speakers and lectures for the students, such as the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Natural Center for Physical Acoustics, the Physics Department, and the Concrete Lab in Carrier Hall.
Laura Sheppardson of the mathematics department, Amrita Mishra of the mechanical engineering department, and Thomas Jamerson from the physics department hosted lectures, and campers spent time participating in hands-on activities related to the day’s topic. Tours of related facilities were conducted throughout the week.
“I was most excited about learning the technology part and making stuff, but I am super excited about staying in the Ole Miss dorms,” said Saja Hassan of Oxford Intermediate School.
On Thursday, students conducted coding exercises and programmed robots called “Spheros”. Friday afternoon the students toured the National Center of Physical Acoustics and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, wrapping up a week full of scientific discovery and engineering.
“I didn’t think STEM camp was going to be so much fun, but I was most excited about the Technology and learning about the robots this week at camp,” said Alex Ritchie of Oxford Intermediate School.

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