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The future (of STEM) is female at UW-Milwaukee's engineering summer camp

In 2015, a report by the United States Department of Commerce found that women fill only24 percent of jobs in the STEM field. The STEM field is made up of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math. And although women are graduating with more degrees than men, they aren’t pursuing the STEM field at the same rate.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s EnQuest engineering camp for high school girls is encouraging teenagers to spark a change in the gender gap. Listen to the audio story below to learn more.

Twenty girls from high schools across Milwaukee and suburban-Wisconsin spent a week on-campus at UW-Milwaukee to learn what a college major and career in engineering feels like.

Together, they stayed at UWM dorms where they worked closely with instructors at UWM and students who are part of UWM’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB). The program, which started eight years ago, works on a specific project every summer in tandem with the students from EWB. This summer, they worked to improve a prototype created from the EnQuest girls last summer.

The girls are taught in an educational and laboratory setting. This week they learned electric basics, which helped them to solder cables together. They used a 3D printer to create parts for their design. They even visited UWM’s foundry to melt and mold metal.

By the end of this experience, they created and presented a new prototype for a USB solar panel phone charging station. In January of 2019, students from EWB will deliver these chargers to a village in Guatemala.

UWM’s EWB program has worked with Guatemala for a few years now to come up with solutions for the needs of the village. The people were used to traveling far distances to be able to plug in their phone chargers as their village lacks electricity. Together, EnQuest and EWB gave them a solution—a USB charging station.

UWM's Engineer Without Borders students speak with Guatemalans. Photo by EnQuest