Sponsored by Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (NIWC Atlantic) via ONR, NUCOR Steel Berkeley, Bosch, Naval Health Clinic Charleston, North Charleston Police Department, College of Charleston and Trident Technical College via ACE, Girls Day Out (GDO) is designed to inspire, educate and attract girls to pursue STEM careers. GDO provides opportunities for participation in hands-on STEM activities from a diverse spectrum of STEM organizations. STEM professionals from businesses and organizations throughout the lowcountry present interactive activities that bring excitement and STEM relevance to many of the tools that are used in their daily occupations. The professionals take the time to share with the girls how they can have meaningful careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Parents will also be afforded the opportunity to hear from colleges and universities about the requirements for their students to be accepted in these educational institutions.
A recent study showed that women currently constitute 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, but hold just 24 percent of the U.S. jobs in STEM. Only 11 percent of American engineers are women. In April 2014, President Obama hosted the Council on Women and Girls in STEM in an effort to get government organizations and private businesses interested in increasing the number of females in STEM. According to a national study, the number one reason why girls choose STEM careers is due to the influence of a teacher or class. The camp organizers support providing opportunities for GDO participants to connect with women working in STEM-related careers with the hope that it will make a difference and impact in their lives.
Sometimes girls need to discern their own unique path toward STEM careers. They need to know that women can excel in science and engineering and what this can eventually lead to in terms of career choices. The purpose of this girls-only event is to answer some of those questions these young ladies may have and overcome some of the uncertainties that keep many smart and capable females from pursuing STEM careers. For the past nine years, the College of Charleston, Trident Technical College, Bosch, Naval Health Clinic Charleston, NUCOR and NIWC Atlantic have hosted GDO, which includes female engineers and local industry partners who share their backgrounds, explain their work, and urge the girls to think about STEM careers. The admissions offices from the College of Charleston and other surrounding colleges emphasize the importance of taking the proper courses in middle school and high school needed to prepare for STEM majors. Interactive learning stations and exhibits appealing to girls drives home the point that women too can find exciting careers in science and engineering. This fun- filled event inevitably conveys to young women that STEM careers are undoubtedly cool!