Inspiring Youth to Explore STEM Careers
Their faces lit up when they let go and witnessed the chain reaction. Popsicle sticks flew everywhere as they shouted with excitement, “look at it go!” They had demonstrated the laws of potential and kinetic energy.
19 kids, ranging from seventh to ninth grades, attended the sixth annual Get Into Energy Camp at the Kansas City Engineering Zone (KC EZ) from July 13 – 15. Hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering, KC Stem Alliance and KCP&L, the purpose of Get Into Energy is to encourage youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goal is a steady stream of job-ready candidates for years to come.
For most students, a career in STEM is a top consideration, but for others like Madison, motivational speaking is more up their alley.
“I want to inspire kids to follow their future,” she said, adding that she was excited about energy camp because science is fun and she likes doing experiments.
During the camp, KCP&L staff conducted hands-on demonstrations rooted in concepts such as potential and kinetic energy, magnetism, and energy generation. Students constructed wind turbines out of recyclables to display creativity in STEM, and created magnets to understand the principles of electricity. On the final day of camp, students and staff made a field trip to Metropolitan Community College’s Business and Technology Campus.
“I like that [camp] covered all the basis of energy and electricity, and not just one thing,” Jenyn explained. Jenyn, who will enter ninth grade this year, wants to be an aerospace engineer when she grows up.
“I love space and the general idea of exploration. I’d like to see a rocket that I built go into space – that’d be really cool.”
There has been a recent push in the STEM community to encourage more girls to pursue careers in math and science; and girls were well-represented at this year’s camp.
Get Into Energy is only one of several community services offered at the SCE. Every week from July 18 – August 5, the School of Computing and Engineering is offering its week-long App Camp, in partnership with Google Fiber. Students will learn skills necessary to program applications for Android smartphones.
Visit the School of Computing and Engineering online to learn more about its prestigious programs and services.
Kelsey Haynes | Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications