Tri-State girls learn STEM skills by building and launching rockets

STEM event at Cincinnati Museum Center Taft student.png
Posted at 1:36 AM, Nov 21, 2019

CINCINNATI — With the launch of a rocket, organizers hope a day-long STEM event will also launch careers in science, technology, engineering and math for young women in the Tri-State.

Hundreds of high school girls gathered at the Cincinnati Museum Center Wednesday to explore opportunities in STEM.

At the end of their day-long exploration, students launched rockets they built by themselves into the air outside Union Terminal.

“I was excited," said Rachelle Judge, a junior at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School. "I was very excited. I probably wanted to watch it again."

Procter & Gamble sponsored the event. Shellie Weisaittel, who works for P&G, said reaching girls like Judge is critical to reducing the gap between men and women going into these type of careers.

"If you look at the labor workforce in general, 52% men and 48% women; when you take a look at women in STEM, we're 24% women and 76% men, and that's something we'd like to change," she said.

Taft career technical educator Celietta Beamon said her school offers classes that could also help prepare students for careers in STEM, including cybersecurity.

She said the workshop will spark an interest in technology, and is especially excited for the possibilities for girls.

“We are the minority in technology. It’s a man’s world, and it’s still a man’s world,” Beamon said. “A lot of fields in career tech are asking for more women.”

For Judge, many options for careers are still on the table. She's considering becoming a lawyer, a dental hygienist, or even going in to the navy.

She said she could see how the event at the Museum Center could steer girls like her in the direction of STEM jobs.

“So they can have that great experience, so when they get older they can be like, 'Yeah, I was in STEM and having fun,'” Judge said.