Brandon University’s (BU’s) Mini University is partnering with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to offer a free STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program for girls ages nine through 13.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is contributing up to $172,000 over the next four years for the Girls Can … program, which is designed to give girls confidence in a variety of STEM activities, including robotics, coding, game design, sound engineering and more. The program is structured to be safe, fun and non-judgmental as participants work with Mini U’s mentors to determine the direction of the sessions. Special guests will join the group at times to provide extra encouragement.
This year’s program will be virtual and will last for 14 weeks. The first session will take place Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30, beginning on February 25, with more sessions to follow. Each session is limited to 12 participants. Those interested can email MiniU@BrandonU.ca or call 204-727-7311. As staff is currently working remotely phone calls and emails will be returned as soon as possible.
“We know that women are underrepresented in STEM professions, and that trend starts at an early age, when girls are sometimes made to feel as though science and math are not for them,” said Dr. Nancy Stanley, Mini U Director. “The truth is that women are just as capable as anyone as excelling in these fields, and we’re thankful to be working with the Canadian Women’s Foundation and our other partners to give girls the start and the inspiration that they need to open new possibilities.”
To further support those who are underrepresented in the STEM fields, priority for the program will be given to youth from low-income, Indigenous or immigrant families. Youth who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ or have a disability are also encouraged to participate.
“Due to the pandemic we had to rethink Girls Can… to be able to offer a quality and meaningful program, and we think that we’ve come up with something that is really going to fun and meaningful for the participants,” said Dr. Stanley. “It has been extremely disappointing to be unable to host our regular Mini U programming in the past year, so we’re very excited to be getting back to offering fun, motivating and self-esteem building activities for the kids.”