GSSM kicks off ENGAGE program for middle school girls in Florence

October 9, 2015

FLORENCE, SC — The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) is kicking off its newest outreach initiative, ENGAGE, for seventh and eighth grade female students in Florence School District One beginning Saturday, October 10. ENGAGE is designed to help build young girls’ confidence with new technologies and fuel their desire to learn more about STEM. The outreach program focuses on impacting students through early interest and awareness of STEM studies and careers.

ENGAGE consists of four day-long sessions: October 10 and 24, and November 14 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Southside Middle School, 200 E Howe Springs Road, Florence, SC, 29505. GSSM’s residential students will serve as student assistants during the program and will help facilitate and encourage the girls throughout the workshops. ENGAGE will culminate on November 21 with a closing ceremony and showcase where which students will pitch prototypes to local business leaders in a shark-tank style competition.

The ENGAGE workshops in Florence are funded through a grant investment from Verizon.

Activities planned will center on project-based coding and 3D printing with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, teamwork and presentation skills. Working in teams, students will use OpenSCAD software to program the prototype of a 3D object that will be printed using a 3D printer. They will be challenged to develop a model that will hold an everyday object like a USB flash drive, cell phone or pencil. The teams will pitch their prototypes to investors when ENGAGE culminates on November 21 with a showcase for families, partner schools and community members.

“At an age when girls typically move away from concentrated studies in STEM, ENGAGE offers an amazing opportunity for girls in our community to connect in a significant way,” said Irene Middleton, Outreach Programs Director at GSSM. “I hope ENGAGE will inspire these young girls to envision themselves as future engineers, computer scientists and entrepreneurs.”

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