I was thinking about this today – since the start of summer is officially here: summer camp. And, of course, post #STEMPrincess book trilogy, what my fantasy girls’ STEM or STEAMED camp and what that would look like, if I had to design said camp.
First off, below is my fantasy ideal – it so far does not yet exist in the real world….but I suppose it could. In fact, there are a few ideas already in reality – like this list, this, and this list – all of which I found with a simple Google search (and cannot personally endorse, but certainly want others to encourage to check out.) NO ONE I’m mentioning below endorses my fantasy idea – I’m just putting down an idea here….any other disclaimers? I can’t think of any….let’s roll.
My Fantasy #STEMPrincess Camp:
1. First off – cabins – I think my perfect camp would be 2 weeks. At it, you’d live in two different cabins during your two week stay – with your top 2 choices in STEM careers. So, at my fantasy STEM Princess camp, each of the 20 STEM Princesses in the book would have her own cabin. There would be an aerospace engineering cabin with Abigail fans, a medicine and pharmacy health sciences cabin for Piper fans, etc. But, since girls are making the effort to go to camp, we need to get them into at least a couple of different STEM experiences.
2. For each career path, we’d need at least 3 camp counselors in each of the STEM career areas. They would consist of the following: 1. an academic teaching in that particular discipline, 2. a practitioner working in the real world of that career path, and 3. A curriculum/assessment/designer. So, back to the Abigail example – I’d have an actual astronaut (Mae Jemison–after all, this is a fantasy camp at this point), an academic – like Anita Sengupta, Last, I’d need a rockstar curriculum and learning designer for this cabin or area (not that they’d have to be an expert in aeronautical or aerospace engineering, but be able to ideally design learning and teaching around this field). Ditto for the other 19 areas.
3. Teaching and learning at the camp would be – combo workshops, design thinking (real-world problem solving), panels and speakers sharing their experiences with the girls. Girls could then journal daily on what they learned, what they liked, and what they did NOT like about that day’s learning. The goal here is exposure to as many STEM career fields as possible.
4. Workstudy – I’d ideally like this camp to be on a farm, or have a farming component. That teaches sustainability, local commerce, entrepreneurship, and hard work–tenets that will serve the girls in whatever professions they ultimately choose.
5. Music, art and design – STEM is the wrong acronym. It’s STEAMED – that also has art, design and entrepreneurship in it. All of these 3 additions to STEM education are absolutely critical in success moving forward. So, we’d need to include them in this 2 week extravaganza.
6. Project based learning – I said this above a bit, but it’s worth pulling out again – small teams, interdisciplinary, assigned at the beginning of camp, regardless of cabins – where girls have to try to solve a problem over the 2 week camp and work on this project during evenings. Big projects here too – like clean water, affordable education for more people, healthcare, wellness for communities, etc. Teaches the girls to think big.
7. Wellness – positive images for girls, along with education on self-awareness, self-health, mind/body/spirit health, financial wellness, methods of mental and physical exercise – I could go on for days here, but ALL girls need more wellness education.
8. Sponsors – since I’m creating a fantasy camp here, I don’t need to worry much about our sponsors here, but while we’re thinking through on this – the sponsors of this camp should be the companies who need these STEM workers of the future. That might include: Amazon, Google (and all of Alphabet), Facebook, NASA, SpaceX, the federal government and their agencies, consulting firms (like McKinsey or Bain), IDEO, think tanks, etc. It’s a great way to start early recruiting! Besides, the ivory tower of education doesn’t always talk to the employers, and here, we could start the dialogue early on education for what the employers may need in the future.
There. All I need now is a bunch of spare time, and about $100 million dollars to set it up. LOL! Seriously – there are some great STEM camps out there. If you’re a girl lucky enough to be heading to one or more this summer, congrats! Share what you learned if you can. For the rest of us, we’ll keep it as a placeholder idea on our blogs…for now.