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CISD School Board President Anthony Hill and Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip visit with students during the IBM STEM camp at IBM Coppell.

International Business Machines (IBM) Dallas/Fort Worth hosted its 14th annual STEM camp, GIGAWOT (Girls Inspired Greatly About the World Of Technology) for middle school girls during July 19-22 at their IBM Coppell location. This year’s camp hosted 48 girls from the three Coppell ISD middle schools in addition to daughters of IBMers from across the D/FW Metroplex. The goal of the IBM-sponsored GIGAWOT Camp is to show how math, science, and technology can be both fun, creative, and interesting in order to inspire the girls to consider a future career in the technology field. Research shows that girls lose their interest in math and science during their early middle school years. The camp co-directors again this year were IBMers Andrea Solka and Jo Ann Hill, along with IBM-Retiree, Jo Lynn Golden.

Nearly 700 girls have attended the GIGAWOT camps since 2002. The camp introduces girls to STEM in a positive and supportive environment, allowing for individual attention and collaborative hands-on participation. Activities are led by IBM employees and special guests from the engineering and technology fields.

The camp used exciting hands on projects, and educational games to illuminate the minds of the young girls who attended. The daily Lego Robotics programming activity was led again by IBMer Fang Wang, with assistance from members of the TechnicBots FTC team (http://www.flyset.org). A new activity this year was the “Latin Dance Challenge”, led by a GIGAWOT Camp alumnae, Christina Flores, in which she taught the girls some dance moves, while incorporating principles of STEM into the artistic activity. Other camp activities included the Patent Process, building a foam roller coaster, making bubble gum, Newton’s Egg, Liquid Nitrogen, and designing and creating a shoe using engineering principles.

This year’s camp included over 90 volunteers who participated throughout the week, including one GIGAWOT camp alumnae, Erin Payne. Erin is a graduate of Coppell High School and is currently attending Kansas State University, majoring in engineering. Throughout the week, the camp was also visited by several Coppell ISD staff members, Superintendent Dr. Waldrip, and three school board members (Amy Dungan, Anthony Hill, Tracy Fisher) who continue to show support for the camp each year.

Some photos and video footage of the camp, courtesy of IBMer Wes Sutton, can be viewed at the following website: https://youtu.be/Ne6GzObR8QM

Follow IBM volunteers on Twitter @ibmvolunteers and @citizenibm