Regis University to host girls-only STEM camp

June 25, 2015

Regis partners with local schools, universities to encourage girls to explore STEM field

In an effort to bolster discouraging statistics showing a disproportionately low number of women in some STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, professors at Regis University are hosting a STEM-focused camp for girls July at the University’s Northwest Denver Campus.

The camp will bring 15 local middle school girls, 12 of whom will attend free thanks to a grant from the Ball Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Ball Corporation, to the campus for a week of workshops on topics ranging from computer systems to biodiversity to space exploration. A portion of the girls are from communities with large populations of first-generation, low-income and/or Hispanic students.

“After middle school, girls’ interest in STEM drops,” said Quyen Hart, a physics and astronomy professor at Regis and key organizer of the camp. “We want to keep their interest up and provide them with role models in the field.”

Hart, along with Regis professor and organizer Trisha Litz, felt that for the third-annual camp, which in previous years was mixed gender, it was important to focus on specifically encouraging girls to pursue STEM.

“In our society unconscious bias contributes to gender stereotyping, that women and STEM don’t mix,” Hart said. “We want to reverse that stereotype.”

Participants will enjoy workshops led by mostly women, and will leave the camp with a variety of tools and projects, including a mini-computer and telescope, to continue their exploration of the STEM disciplines. The camp will include workshops led by female professors from the University of Denver, and a trip to nearby sustainable living project Cultivate Health and the Sister Gardens there, to explore gardening and biodiversity.

Regis’ hosting of the camp follows the naming of Shari Plantz-Masters as academic dean of the university’s new College of Computer & Information Sciences. Plantz-Masters said she is pleased to support the camp, because one of her goals as dean of the new college is to draw more women to the field. The camp will be held July 6-10 at Regis University’s Northwest Denver Campus, 3333 Regis Boulevard.