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MiniGEMS STEAM and Programming Camp for Middle School Girls

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2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Pre K-12 Track - Technical Session V

Tagged Topic

Pre K-12 Education

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Paper Authors


Michael Frye University of the Incarnate Word

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Michael T. Frye, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering at the University of the Incarnate Word, in San Antonio, TX. He is an Electrical Engineer who specialized in the field of nonlinear control theory with applications to autonomous air vehicles. Dr. Frye’s research interest is in discovering new and efficient techniques that mitigates the effects of uncertainty in complex nonlinear dynamics; such as seen in autonomous vehicle systems. Dr. Frye is the PI and Laboratory Director for the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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Chaoyi Wang University of the Incarnate Word

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Chaoyi Wang is an International Ph.D. student at UIW. She has been a part-time middle teacher in China. From her teaching experiences, she recognized the different cultures and realized the importance of student interaction and engagement. So, she came to the United State and pursed her master's degree in UIW MAA program, concentration on organizational leadership. Right now, she is pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at UIW. Chaoyi Wang is interested in Children’s play and play environments. She is now putting efforts on the development of Chinese children’s play and play environments.

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Sreerenjini C. Nair University of the Incarnate Word

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Assistant Professor in Physics, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

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Yvonne Calvo Burns Camp Program Coordinator

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This paper provides an overview of a STEAM Camp for middle school girls from Title I school districts and schools in San Antonio, TX. The paper will provide details on hosting a STEAM camp that is dedicated to recruiting from underserved and underrepresented communities. miniGEMS 2017 was a free two-week summer STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and Programming camp for middle school girls in grades 6 to 8 held at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas. miniGEMS 2017 was hosted by the Autonomous Vehicle Systems (AVS) Research and Education Laboratory. This is the third year that miniGEMS is being held at UIW. Four two-week miniGEMS camps were hosted at UIW for a total of eight weeks starting June 5 till August 4 this summer. The primary goal of the camp was to introduce more female students to the field of Engineering through robotic projects, computer programming, graphic design, and guest speakers. Project Based Learning curriculum was introduced over the two-week camp culminating with a final presentation and skit. miniGEMS was the first free camp in San Antonio for middle school girls that had a special focus on autonomous ground, air, and underwater robots. miniGEMS 2017 camps was led by undergraduate and graduate students from various UIW STEM programs including Engineering and Biomedical Sciences. Middle school teachers were hired to participate in the camp and they helped recruit the middle school students from their respective schools. miniGEMS high school student alumni came back as peer mentors for the camp. An End of Summer Conference and Banquet was held for all campers, their parents, and teachers on August 4. miniGEMS clubs are now being formed in some of the middle schools in San Antonio to continue some of the miniGEMS curriculum throughout the academic year.

Frye, M., & Wang, C., & Nair, S. C., & Burns, Y. C. (2018, April), MiniGEMS STEAM and Programming Camp for Middle School Girls Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--29553

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