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PFW faculty members retool girls’ summer STEM camp due to COVID-19

(Left to right) Behin Elahi, Jennifer Hunter, Kim O’Connor, Atefeh Mohammadpour, and Becca Essig, Future Girls of Stem Camp faculty. (Photo Supplied)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A group of female faculty members at Purdue University Fort Wayne took some extra steps to make sure girls in the second, third, and fourth grades who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields were still able to get a unique education experience this summer, despite COVID-19.

The Future Girls of STEM Camp is held in conjunction with the Girl Scouts, but after learning they would not be able to hold the event in-person due to health concerns, plans were made to find a way for girls to learn how to “think like an engineer” at home.

“We created a detailed, engaging curriculum for the girls to follow that included hands-on activities to teach them about biomedical, water, and mechanical engineering,” said camp leader Becca Essig, assistant professor of Engineering and first-year Engineering coordinator. “All the materials needed for the activities were provided in camp bags, and we created a series of videos about each activity and interviews with six different practicing female engineers.”

RELATED: Becca Essig of Purdue Fort Wayne on Girls’ Summer STEM Camp

Those bags of materials were distributed to the campers the first week of July as their parents “drove by” the Engineering Technology building on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus. Atefeh Mohammadpour, assistant professor of Construction Management, noted, “The campers were excited to come and get their materials, and one of them mentioned she is planning on coming to Purdue Fort Wayne for her undergraduate degree in engineering.”

For more information about the camp, including to enquire about signing up for any remaining availabilities this year or next year, contact Essig at

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