Why STEPS is Important

Scientists and engineers work to solve challenges that concern our society and everyday life. Pollution and disease are problems that can strike anyone, anywhere, without discrimination. Our approach to designing products and providing solutions therefore must also be equal opportunity. That is why diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is so critical. Despite the fact that workers in science and engineering tend to have higher paid jobs and more work stability than workers in other fields, female participation in STEM is still under 30% of the total STEM workforce.

According to studies, the low representation of women in STEM is due to diverse sociocultural factors that deter girls from a young age. It is important to our society to be able to break this cycle, exposing girls to positive role models, support systems and instilling in them the importance of good math and science education. Non-formal education plays an important role in this issue. Programs outside the child's conventional environment help to inculcate positive attitudes towards science, especially in girls. Non-formal science activities provide opportunities for active learning, in a non-threatening environment, that allow girls to approach challenges of subjects that are perceived as male dominant.

Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camp for Girls (STEPS) was initiated at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and has been replicated in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and South Dakota as residential or day camps for girls. STEPS camps are tuition-free, and participants enjoy a full range of recreational, developmental, and technical experiences. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Educational Foundation plans to extend the program to 11 states, reaching over 36,000 girls!


From Parents:
Excellent program.  Thrilled my daughter was selected.  Loved the fact the girls met actual female engineers.                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Our daughter was delighted with the "hands-on" opportunities to do the work of building her plane.  She was excited to fly in the Cessna.  She has always like science and I think this may have solidified the importance of science & math.  It was a fabulous learning opportunity and we're thankful she could participate!  Bonus - her counselor, Rachael, was a blessing.  :)                                                                                                    

This was the best experience for Danielle!  She woke up the day after camp finished and said, "Mom, I wish I could go to STEPS today!"                                                                                                                                          

I am so impressed with this camp.  What a wonderful, generous opportunity for young girls.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Our daughter loved using the power tools!  We thought it was great that each girl had to explain the power tools to the next girl in line.  Claire made science camp sound so awesome [that] one of our other daughters said I feel sorry for boys that they don't get to go!  We will highly recommend this camp to others.  Great educational yet fun experience.                                    

The highlight of the week was cutting airplane wings with hot wire.  :-)                                                                                         

We loved Fly Night!  Great experience for her grandparents to see her in action!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

My husband & I thought this was a wonderful hand(s) on experience.  Our daughter came away with a much better understanding on how to apply math & science skills.    

From the Campers:

I wish it went longer than a week.                                                                                                        

Best week ever.  Made a best friend.                                                                                         

I wish I could do it again!                                                                                                 

I'm glad I did it because it was the funnest ways to learn ever!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The best camp, by far of any camp I attended.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

I loved everything!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Dear Sara (et al.):

Thank you for the wonderful STEPS camp week for my daughter, Phoebe Stroobosscher. She had a FABULOUS time! She learned so much, made interesting new friendship connections with girls from different communities and cultures and was blessed by it, and in short had a life-giving, mind-growing fabulous time. You program is a GIFT. What an honor and blessing that Phoebe was invited to participate. It has been a highlight of her summer. We thank God for all of you and for your program.

Please pass on our gratitude to the rest of the gang (Phoebe particularly enjoyed her small group leader, Brie; thought she was fun and kind and enjoyed how she participated with the girls in whatever they were doing, including making friendship bracelets on the bus!). Mature women pouring into young girls is a gift of time and discipleship that is costly but fundamental to girls growing up to be well rounded, secure young women. You are pouring into the next generation in immeasurable ways.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hope you enjoyed your week as much as the girls did. Well done!


Heather Stroobosscher

Page last modified December 2, 2013