A partnership between General Electric and CEISMC will bring 30 girls from East Cobb Middle School to campus this summer for a weeklong exploration of STEM activities. General Electric Girls at Georgia Tech (GE Girls @ GT), slated for June 20-24, is a five day program focused on introducing the 7th and 8th grade girls to a broad range of science and engineering topics. Each of the first four days will be dedicated to a certain field: electrical/mechanical engineering, biology/chemistry, computer science, and designing/building. The final day culminates with a presentation workshop and a chance for the girls to share what they have learned with their parents and GE leaders.
In addition to learning of different STEM topics, GE Girls @ GT focuses on promoting confidence and leadership as well as foster an environment for student-to-student mentoring. A special activity will invite former GE Girls @ GT participants from last year to serve as mentors for the currents girls. Together, they will make lip balm as part of an introduction to chemical principles.
Several of the activities offered this year are successful events that were offered in previous years. An example would be the Urban Honeybee Project, as part of Biology and Chemistry day, which allowed last year’s participants to get an up-close experience with bees and learn about the importance of pollination.
Last year’s Biology and Chemistry day on June 9 consisted of an introduction to Georgia Tech’s Urban Honeybee Project, a program aimed not only to research, learn, and understand the role of honeybees in an urbanized setting, but also to educate and engage students and partnering communities. Following an hour-long presentation of the honeybee’s life cycle and their contribution to the ecosystem, the girls visited the beehives located on the roof of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.
Brooke Vacovsky, a senior computer science major, helped with the event. A student assistant since 2013, Brooke led the event with enthusiasm, engaging a creative discussion with the girls.
"I just loved watching the girls’ faces light up as I explained why honeybees were not only important because they provide us honey, but also that they are essential to our ecosystem,” she says. “This is my favorite part about being involved with the Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project."
The Project was created and headed by Georgia Tech Senior Academic Professional Dr. Jennifer Leavey from the School of Biology. The basics of beekeeping proves to be an excellent introduction to STEM for a middle and high school audience due to its interdisciplinary nature. Understanding the role of bees in the ecosystem incorporates an importance of pollination for the survival of plants and the environment that they thrive in. This mix of biology and environmental science made this project a unique and exciting window into the possibility of a STEM career for the girls.
In addition to the beekeeping at Georgia Tech, the Project fosters a commitment to educating the greater Atlanta community on beekeeping. Hives are maintained across the city from the Historic Westside Gardens to Urban Fresh Community Gardens. Keeping a constant involvement in the Atlanta communities strengthens the goals of the Honeybee Project.
This year, the GE Girls @ GT participants will have a chance to visit the campus beehives and explore the importance of pollination on June 21st. The effort put forth by GE, CEISMC, and the Urban Honeybee Project illustrates the significance in partnership, communication, and leadership that GE Girls @ GT hopes to instill in its participants.
Interested in learning more about GE Girls @ GT? In its 3rd consecutive year, GE Girls @ GT is headed by CEISMC’s Educational Outreach Coordinator Kelsey McNamara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning more about the Honeybee Project? Being in the know starts with signing up for updates via the Georgia Tech Honeybee Project newsletter. Find out more at bees.gatech.edu.