by KIM HILSENBECK
Girlstart, one of a handful of community-based informal education programs in the nation, recently visited Hays CISD with two free summer camps for girls ages 8-12. The first was at Pfluger Elementary, the second at Hemphill Elementary where the Hays Free Press caught up with the girls attending the camp.
Campers enjoyed fun, hands-on work including building a model oil pipeline, simulated with water. In teams of two, the young engineers created a pipeline using plastic cups, straws, duct tape and popsicle sticks.
Girlstart leaders provided a laminated mat showing various ecosystems and wildlife habitats along the pipeline route. Points would be deducted for placing a pipeline holding structure near wildlife; more points would be taken off for leaks.
After testing and retesting, the teams were scored on how well their pipeline did.
“They did awesome,” said Janeigh Jones, Girlstart instructor. “They used team building and problem solving skills, as well as compromise, voting and being respectful.”
With a focus on empowering girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Girlstart, which was founded in Austin in 1997, promotes early engagement and academic success, encourages postsecondary aspirations and helps develop a diverse workforce. Funding comes from community partners including AMD, Time Warner Cable Connect a Million Minds, Education Foundation of America and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
Sami Garcia, 10, enjoyed creating the video game Frogger.
“It’s cool because my mom played when she younger,” Sami said.
Trista Strawsser, 9, liked using LED lights. Her face lit up the way the bracelet did when she talked about the project.
“I didn’t know you can make an LED bracelet light up!” Trista said.