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Ascendant Stem camp draws more girls

  • Science is fun: participants in this year's Ascendant Stem Camp (Photograph supplied)
  • Shirley Kelly, Ascendant Stem Camp instructor (Photograph supplied)
  • Technology experience: Ascendant Stem Camp participants built laptop computers

Ascendant Group Ltd has seen a record number of girls sign up to its Stem camp this year.

The camp caters to middle school students looking to enhance their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by developing challenging robotic projects, electronics and wearable technology.

It was launched in 2013 and provides an interactive experience founded in Stem-related subjects including robotics, programming and mathematics.

This year, the company offered the camp free of charge for the first time and participants have completed their first week.

“Through Stem Camp, we aim to use our resources and expertise across the Ascendant Group of Companies to encourage students who show an interest in Stem to pursue those interests and further develop their abilities,” Denton Williams, Ascendant senior vice-president, said.

“Previously, Stem Camp was offered at a cost comparable with other summer camps to offset the costs of running the camp. However, upon reviewing the aims of Stem Camp and what we are looking to achieve with these students, we decided that this year, cost should not be a factor in determining who is able to attend.

“Instead, we have offered the camp for free and invited each middle school to nominate two students with both a proficiency and interest in Stem subjects to participate.”

This past week, students have used maths and engineering to produce creative bridging solutions and built NXT Mindstorms robots to deliver alternative energy to a city. They have also built a laptop from scratch and learnt how to programme it.

Additionally, students built an HTML-based webpage and took a plankton tour to study the organisms that are the basis of the ocean’s food chain.

Shirley Kelly, the camp’s instructor, said: “This week, we were thrilled to welcome seven girls into our class of 19 students. This is the growth we’ve been working towards over the last five years, as the number of female participants has been historically low.

“They have enjoyed camp and are happily engaged in all of the programmes.”

Zehena Davis, Ascendant’s vice-president of human resources, said: “The overall aim of Stem Camp is to develop future leaders across the board, no matter what their areas of interest may be.

“Of course, both girls and boys should be inspired to pursue a wide range of leadership roles, including those in Stem fields. We hope that these seven girls will encourage their friends to try Stem Camp next year so we can continue to see more of a gender balance.”

For more information, visit www.ascendant.bm/STEM