GCSC Gets Girls Fired Up About STEM Fields; Hosts 'Girls Night'

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Gulf Coast State College is grooming young girls to be future leaders in science and technology.

On Tuesday night, the campus hosted 'Girls Night'.

It's the school's inaugural program to reach out to young girls and minorities.

More than 130 girls attended the fun-filled event, all in efforts to spark their interest in the STEM fields.

Bay District Schools and Gulf Coast State College STEM Administrator Katie McCurdy said it's especially important to host this event during 'National Engineers Week'.

"This exposure allows them to be exposed to things they may have never seen before, so as they're in middle school and going to high school and then preparing for graduation, it kind of gives them an idea, 'hey' I want to go into these STEM fields, or maybe I want to try something different," said McCurdy.

The girls got hands-on at several stations; drones, 3D printing, robots, and a look into cyber security.

Mowat Middle School student Grace Elliot said she wants to go into forensic science and criminology.

"My grandfather worked for the police department for 33 years, he was the sergeant and so it kind of passed down," said Elliot.

Other young ladies like Mowat student Keldri Young enjoyed the robotics activity.

"It's creative, you can do a lot of things with it, and you can actually make some of this stuff," said Young.

With the surge of stories about women breaking barriers in science, Mechanical Engineer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Samantha Smith, said this paves the way for girls in the future.

"I think the goal has been as we move along to make it easier for the women coming up behind us to do everything we can do to give back to the next generation," said Smith.

Fifty students from Franklin County participated in 'Girls Night'.

Bay District Schools and local industries also partnered up to make this happen.

Organizers haven't scheduled a date yet for the next 'Girls Night', but they said this event will be one of many more.


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