Eureka! program expanding young women’s minds, introducing them to the world of math and science
Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 00:06
A group of 28 young women are spending the month of June at UNO as they are getting a chance to discover science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or (STEM) for short, mixed in with self discovery and fitness training, through a program called Eureka! funded by Girls Inc.
The Eureka Teen Achievement program was founded at Brooklyn College in 1987. It is designed to help economically disadvantaged, inner city young women develop leadership and career skills. All of the young women are involved in Girls Inc.
The Eureka program is a five-year program for eighth through twelfth grades. The program is a year long, offering both summer and school year opportunities. According to Carol Mitchel, a UNO faculty member in the College of Education and one of the program’s directors and co-principal investigators, this summer is the first time that the Eureka program has been introduced to Nebraska.
“Eureka takes a ‘whole-girl’ approach,” Mitchel said. “We’re very excited about the STEM focus, but Eureka also stresses physical, cognitive and psychological and social development.”
The day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. During the week, UNO faculty and students, along with guest speakers, lead discussions and teach the sessions of activities inscience and math, including biology, physics, engineering, and robotics. They will also be touring the UNO campus and visiting the Peter Kiewit Institute, a biology research lab, Durham Science Center and Criss Library. On Fridays, field trips to the Strategic Air and Space Museum and the Henry Doorly Zoo are scheduled.
The women also get swimming lessons at the Health, Physical Education and Recreation building, making it a well-rounded day for them.
“Eureka covers a great deal, and it offers a great deal,” Mitchel said. “We’re expanding what’s possible for these young women.”
According to research, both girls and boys take about the same number of classes in math and science. Yet girls are less likely to take advanced classes in biology, chemistry and physics. Girls are also likely to shy away from taking AP tests in math and science. However, Eureka! and Girls Inc are hoping to change that. By broadening the opportunities and interest in these fields for young women, it is their hope that the careers in STEM fields will be more attainable for women in the future.