ACES Camp Goes Virtual to Connect Middle School Girls to Science and Engineering

ACES Camp continued on this year to engage middle school girls in hands-on science and engineering in a supportive, virtual environment. The camp is a collaboration between SARSEF, Raytheon, and STEMAZing.

Press Release – PDF

Girls wave from their windows on a videoconferencing platform.

Middle school girls from Sunnyside Unified School District attend virtual camp through videoconferencing for a week, learning about careers in science and engineering.

What does an engaging and educational experience with science and engineering look like in a virtual environment? For the middle school girls at ACES Camp, it looks like building their own electrical paper circuit and having engaging, collaborative discussions with other girls their age about leadership and careers. It looks like scavenger hunts through their houses and exploring exciting museums and exhibits through virtual tours. This year, camp might look a little different, but the girls at ACES Camp are making the most of it.

Through a collaboration between SARSEF, Raytheon, and STEMAZing, ACES Camp is preparing 36 middle school girls from the Sunnyside Unified School District for exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) while still maintaining social distance.

Camp started with participants picking up packets of supplies and snacks to use throughout the week, allowing them to participate in hands-on activities at home during a week of virtual camp through videoconferencing. From bags of candy to corn starch to batteries, the supplies gave the girls a mysterious sneak peek at the week ahead.

ACES Camp provided an extensive packet to each girl who participated to ensure the virtual experience could still be hands-on.

The camp’s activities give the girls an opportunity to engage with science and engineering concepts, learn about careers in STEM and consider what it means to be a leader and a role model.

“A lot of people think that what makes a role model great is that they’re fearless… but I think what makes you a role model is being someone who is human and that means having fear but doing things anyway,” an ACES Camp participant shared.

Despite moving to a virtual platform, Brooke Meyer, SARSEF’s Director of Education and Innovation, wanted to make sure that ACES Camp kept its core mission of sparking interest in higher education through teamwork activities, hands-on learning, and building genuine connections with professionals in STEM fields.

“We’re in a time of change and uncertainty, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible potential within each of our campers. As we developed a new kind of camp this year, we never lost sight of that, and we are so proud of the results. These girls have made close connections with each other, built up their confidence levels, and are ready to make a big difference in the world,” Meyer shared.

The campers will celebrate their week of STEM at a virtual celebration on Saturday, July 18. For more information about ACES Camp and other STEM experiences throughout the year, contact SARSEF at director@sarsef.org.

Two women in masks stand by bags they are planning to pass out to campers.

Staff and volunteers pass out supplies for a virtual ACES Camp while wearing masks and social distancing.

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