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‘STEM’ming from curiosity

Monday, April 22, 2024

‘STEM’ming from curiosity

WIN, CVTC welcome HS girls to learn about science-based fields

Two females practicing STEM

Coding. Networking. Cybersecurity. STEM.

Some might think those words don’t appeal to the typical 16-year-old girl.

Then again, maybe Ellie Crosby, Chloe Johnson and Mireya Ziebel aren’t your typical 16-year-old girls.

WIN Technology and Chippewa Valley Technical College have teamed up for the last three years to bust stereotypes and offer a half-day of STEM programming to high school students who identify as female. Ten school districts attended the event called Imagine Summit recently, held at CVTC.

Not only were the students able to learn about so much more than computers, but they were really excited after attending the first break-out sessions.

Crosby, a sophomore at Chippewa Falls Senior High School, said the draw for her to attend comes from her interest in energy.

“We are on something in school called the Green Team, and we work on different projects that work on energy innovation,” Crosby said. “Currently, we’re trying to work on school solar panel projects, and we’ve written many grants. This kind of ties in with everything we’re doing on the Green Team.

“And it’s just more inspiring and getting empowerment from this (Imagine Summit). It’s cool.”

Ziebel, a sophomore at Neillsville High School, has been interested in this kind of technology, well, likely since she was born, she joked. Her father is a middle school science teacher.

“I’ve grown up around him talking about science and engineering, technology and math all the time,” she said. “It has always been something that has interested me. I came today because I want to see what interests me and what I want to go into (in college).”

Johnson, a sophomore at Chippewa Falls Senior High School who also is on the Green Team, said having the opportunity to learn about many different areas of IT at an event like this is exciting. The first session she attended during the Imagine Summit was about fiber networking, electronics and how it ties into communication and community.

Fiber networking isn’t something she would have thought about had it not been for the event. As she learns more about the opportunities, she hopes girls younger than her will be interested in the STEM world as well.

“I would say to get involved in clubs and voyageurs and robotics – just join as many as you can,” Johnson said. “If you really find something you enjoy, you can stick with it.”

Ziebel had advice for younger students as well.

“Take some opportunities,” she said. “There are so many things to get involved with at school. We get emails constantly about stuff like this. STEM is really interesting, and it’s fun!”

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