Online Mentoring Program Introduces High School Girls to STEM Learning, Options

A group of 9and girls from Vigo County School Corporation’s West Vigo High School took a break from their normal biology, algebra and home economics classes to spend a school day at Rose-Hulman learning how to make models of appliances electronics and explore their future educational horizons.

It was all part of an EMERGE online mentorship program – supported by a grant from the Ball Venture Fund – which has female students from the country’s preeminent college of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educating young girls about awareness of STEM careers, plus education options and advice on academic success.

During a March 10 campus visit, a dozen West Vigo students sat alongside Rose-Hulman students in a class on modeling electronic devices, taught by the electrical and computer engineering professor Tina Hudson, PhD. They also discovered opportunities for women in STEM through the Lawrence J. Giacoletto Endowment Chair and electrical and computer engineering professor Carlotta Berry, PhD; learned about the college recruitment process and summer STEM education programs; and visited the Rose-Hulman campus.

And they were able to personally meet the four EMERGE program mentors whom they may have only previously exchanged messages on social media and hosted virtual chat sessions.

This year’s mentors, all Rose-Hulman juniors, are chemistry student Becca Depasse; Emily Padgett, electrical engineering student; and Chloe Koutsoumpas and Breanna Rogers, both biomedical engineering majors.

“We hope these girls will share our enthusiasm for studying engineering or science because we really need them in STEM fields,” said Rogers, a graduate of Terre Haute South High School in Vigo County. “It’s great to finally be able to see them in person after having brief online meetings over the course of this year.”

The EMERGE project is organized by Indiana Science and Mathematics Portal Resource Program (PRISM) (www.rose-prism.org), a nationally recognized center of learning hosted by Rose-Hulman. The program provides digital resources and professional development opportunities for Indiana STEM teachers.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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