Thank You to All Who Helped Make 2022 Summer Physics Camp for Young Women A Big Success

Thank You to All Who Helped Make 2022 Summer Physics Camp for Young Women A Big Success

Thank you to all who helped make this year’s 6th 2022 Summer Physics Camp for Young Women a big success! The camp, which is led by Anna Llobet of Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been running since 2016 and was held this year from June 6-17, 2022.

Figure 1 Marielle Gomez from El Prado (Taos) created a circuit to make LEDs flash on a breadbox by coding the Arduino microcontroller connected to the Pi-Top provided by the camp.

The Summer Physics Camp for Young Women offers a unique opportunity for young women to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Held virtually this year to increase the reach of the impact of the camp throughout rural areas, this two week long camp gave high school students a chance to boost their understanding of how STEM improves the world around us through activities, speakers, virtual tours, and a hands-on projects.

Some camp topics covered included: Astrophysics, fundamentals about electricity, crystal structure, electromagnetism and optics, computer programing and learning how to code an Arduino Microcontroller, writing a resume and Interviewing Etiquette, Disease Modeling, Bio-Physics, chemistry, environmental science, how do Batteries and Solar Panels Work, Artificial Intelligence, nuclear engineering, space exploration, the importance of a growth mindset and building professional relationships, mechanical engineering, building and wiring an Ohana homestead and building and coding a robotic hand and much more!

Forty students from grades 8-12 attended this year’s camp. They came from 10 different counties in New Mexico and Hawaii: 10 from Bernalillo County, 11 from Santa Fe County, 5 from Hawaii, 4 from Rio Arriba County, 3 from Los Alamos County, 2 from Taos County, 2 from Valencia County, 1 from Sandoval County, 1 from union County and 1 from Cibola county.

The Summer Physics Camp for Young Women strives to reach out to young women who have not typically been represented in science. 83% of camp students are ethnically underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM (55% Hispanic, 18% Asian, 5% Native American, 3% Pacific Islander and 3% that identify as a mix).

The camp exposes the students to a large number of women role models in STEM. In fact, 76% of the volunteers were women, Students engaged in all sorts of conversations about what is to be a woman working in a STEM field and all the volunteers offered their contact information and encouraged the students to use their contact information to continue to ask questions.

Students also had the opportunity to attend live-virtual tours of LANL and Sandia National laboratories facilities and student programs shared with them tricks for successful application paths to internships at national laboratories. Representatives from a large number of  NM educational institutions also shared with students opportunities to further their education and increase their chances to securing jobs here in NM at our National Laboratories.

Figure 2 Megan Manzanares from Ohkay Owingeh shares her progress on the electric circuit.

Each student received a package with all the materials they would need to perform all the demonstrations and experiments throughout the camp. During the camp students were also offered the opportunity to sharpen their coding understanding and expertise and apply it to actual projects. Each student received Pi-Top laptop, as well as an ELEGOO Super Starter Kit that they used to program LEDs, proximity sensors or the robotic hand they built.

The camp also aims at impacting local public schools by hiring local educations to participate in the camp. This year’s educators include lead educator Marie Booth from East Mountain High School in Albuquerque and  Dr Pascale Creek Pinner from Hawaii. For Marie Booth this was her first time participating in the camp and she shared that  “ The depth of career exploration was absolutely phenomenal as the girls were exposed to “a day in the life..” of many individuals who discussed their roles in their professional STEM careers as well as the paths that led them to those careers. “ and “As an educator, I have learned so much about the opportunities that reside in our own communities and the professionals and resources that I can reach out to in order to continue making connections for my own students.”

The Summer Physics Camp for Young Women would not be possible without the support of about 104 volunteers from National Laboratories, industry and universities in the US and Europe. Volunteers come from a broad spectrum of STEM professionals: 80% of the volunteers came from US Department of Energy National Laboratories, 13% from Universities in the US and Europe and the remaining came from Public Schools in NM and Hawaii (3%), Industry (3%), Military (1%).

This camp is offered free of charge to students thanks to the financial support LANL and Triad, Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico Consortium, LANL Foundation, SAGE, N3B, Tech Source, Los Alamos Women in Science, IEEE, APS, ACS, Texas A&M, WM Symposia, INMM, Athena Engineering scholars, and the Hawaii Science and technology Museum.

Thank you again to everyone who made this amazing camp happen in 2022!