STEM day focuses on helping girls get interested in science

BISMARCK, N.D. - Area schools are working together to get girls more interested in STEM careers. On Friday, 60 eighth-graders from across Bismarck had the chance to learn about different science, technology, engineering and math opportunities available to them.

It's not your typical day at school. These girls are spending time in Bismarck State College classrooms, conducting science experiments and learning to assemble electronic circuits.

“We can only do so much in a classroom with kids to expose them to what’s out in the real world,” said Assistant Principal Brian Beehle, Career Academy Tech Center.

The students were picked because they've already shown an interest in the STEM field. Lexis Orn says she got involved in the Science Olympiad team at school and wants to find out what career opportunities are available to her.

“I like the creativity of it and how there's not really a boundary that you can stop,” Orn said. “And I know I want to do a career in it when I get older but I didn't really know what the options were.”

The day is sponsored by a grant through ONEOK, an energy provider in the U.S., and coordinated by Bismarck Public Schools. Both students and instructors are hoping it opens up more possibilities for everyone participating.

“I feel like there's definitely not enough girls in stem careers and its cool that they're getting us more interested in STEM,” student Marin Traynor said.

“Traditionally, a lot of manufacturing and energy jobs have been seen as male-dominated professions and so we want to give women that exposure to say, 'I can do that job too,'” said Sarah Hutchinson, ONEOK Measurement Tech.

This is the fourth year the eighth-graders have been able to take part in the program.

This is the first of three different events the girls will take part in. Next month, they'll spend a day at the Career Academy, and have a chance to take part in activates such as welding and engraving.