Miss USA builds up S.T.E.A.M. in Vancleave

To make steam you have two options: turn on the heat or visit the FabLab in Vancleave.

News 25’s Lindsey Goodwin met up with a special guest, encouraging girls to get involved in math and science.

A place where imagination meets innovation, FabLab engineered an all-girls summer camp where for eight hours a day all week they’re learning to use computer-aided design to make almost anything they can imagine. FabLab Manager Scott Beebe said, “They’ve learned how to digitally design things so they’ve made logos. They’ve made signs. They’ve made t-shirts. They’ve learned how to 3D print.”

Science, technology, engineering, and math are the foundations for this camp. Sixth grader Audrey Carlisle says she’s never experienced anything like this. “I just thought it would be really cool to experience all of this and it’s just not what I’m used to so I wanted to try something new.”

And that is the hope: to inspire more girls to get involved. With only 26 percent of females in careers in STEM, Miss USA Kara McCullough has seen this first hand, working as part of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She made a surprise visit to FabLab to share an important message.  “We have to bridge that gap of gender inclusion and prove that women, we can do it all. We really do it all and we show these young girls that you can be smart.”

“In STEM fields, traditionally girls are typically under-represented. I’ve taught higher level geometry, higher level algebra, and often times, the girls are the best students in the class. These girls can come up with some great ideas and we need to foster that,” said Beebe.

These girls are building up STEAM in the math and science world and now STEM has added an A to their name, making sure the arts are still included. “We’re incorporating the arts. We’re bringing a different angle to inspire and encourage students,” said McCullough.

By having a role model like Miss USA speak to these girls about STEAM, they’re now boiling with excitement to continue. “She told us by doing these types of things, you’re being separated by all of your peers and just to keep going,” said Audrey.

Categories: Education, Featured, Jackson County, Local News, News

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