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EAC Discovery Park Campus hosts STEM Day for Girls

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EAC Discovery Park Campus hosts STEM Day for Girls

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus (EAC DPC) recently hosted the second annual Girls-Only STEM Day, with 13, 7th - 9th grade girls from Graham and Greenlee Counties. The girls engaged in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lessons and activities designed especially for young women.

The girls received career information and lessons during four sessions from women with a variety of professional backgrounds and experience. The day started with a light breakfast and continued with a lesson from Jill Leavitt, FMI industrial hygienist, on chemical safety. The girls learned about chemical hazards found in both the home and at a mine site. “Personal Protection Equipment” was explained and the girls tried on different types of masks and respirators and even donned a complete chemical suit.

The next activity was presented by Laura Tolman and Dayna Broadhead from CMI Quick Copy. Their project was completed in the Computer Lab teaching the girls how to create a custom Christmas card using graphic design software on the computers. The girls’ creative sides really shown with projects that included pictures of themselves, friends, clipart shapes, and even pets.

Lunch was provided for the girls and instructors, along with lots of laughing and conversations on what they had learned so far. The next activity was shared by Philipa Killian, FMI senior metallurgist; Brittany Burrell, FMI research scientist; and Cara Reed, FMI lab technician. Their fascinating lesson called “Micro-Miners” explained the different types of “food” that mining microorganisms consume and the importance of microbes in the leaching of copper. The girls got some hands-on experience using aseptic techniques, inoculation, proper sampling, as well as serial dilutions.

The final event of the day was shared by Mariea Kartick, FMI geologist and Nicole Henderson, FMI mining engineer. This activity was called “Dig Deeper!” and explained the “core drilling” process by having the girls “core” into a cake specially made by Basha’s Bakery to locate “ore veins” and a “mineral deposit” of raspberry filling. After the “mineral deposit” was located, the girls had to determine the best method for mining the “mineral” out of the cake while doing the least damage to the surface. This was enjoyed by everyone involved as the cake was divided and shared among all of the girls.

“The goal of the Girls-Only STEM Day at Discovery Park Campus is to provide girls from throughout Eastern Arizona the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from professional women involved in STEM careers, and to empower these girls to aspire for higher education in STEM related courses, and ultimately pursue a STEM related career,” said EAC Discovery Park Campus director and EASI chair, Paul Anger.

The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative is a group of teachers and professionals who have come together to improve science education and offer extracurricular STEM activities for students with an interest in the sciences. If you are interested in participating with any of the EASI activities and events please contact Anger, at Paul Anger.