Anuual AAUW-Ely STEM workshop held at college

Girls experiment with various kits to learn some physics principles at the AAUW-Ely STEM workshop held at Vermilion Community College on March 24.

A free one day event for girls drew 39 students in grade five through eight March 24 at Vermilion Community College.
For the seventh year, the Ely branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) coordinated a series of hands-on workshops in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields to help girls get excited about those areas as possible careers.
The workshops this year were Physics Fun, Marshmallow Catapults, Computer Programming the Fun Way, and What Do Vet Techs Do?
The Physics Fun workshop was an “opening activity” for all the girls as they arrived. This was coordinated by Sherry Abts, an AAUW-Ely Branch member and Laurentian Environmental Center Instructor.
There were five “experiment tables” set up so the girls could move to different ones and learn various physics principles by experimenting with pop bottle rockets, balloon helicopters, magnetism, and water tension. The other workshops were presented to the girls in smaller groups of 13 girls at a time.
In Marshmallow Catapults, Rachel Heinrich, Director from the Ely Public Library, had them build a simple catapult with popsicle sticks, a plastic bottle cap and rubber bands, and then practice launching a cotton ball. Then they were given larger materials to design and build and test their own catapult to launch marshmallows.
In Computer Progamming the Fun Way, Kris Wilmunen, Project Manager from Unisys, had them re-programming an Angry Bird video game with “drag & drop” programming.
This had been a successful workshop 4 years ago, so with a completely different group of girls, and Wilmunen was willing to do it again.
In What Do Vet Techs Do? Jessica Kainz, the veterinary technology instructor from VCC, along with local veterinarian, Dr. Pete Hughes, and some of the vet tech students, did a wide variety of activities - widely varying what they did even between the groups.
Some examined a cadaver dog, others tested blood pressure, prepared slides with blood or feces samples and examined them on an overhead microscope, tested eye pressure and learned a lot about pet care and what veterinary technicians do in their daily jobs.
Special thanks to Vermilion Community College for their partnership in making this happen and to Lake Country Power Operation Round-up Program for helping fund it.