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STEM students keep learning in summer

Middle schoolers part of GE Girls at MSOE program

July 17, 2012

Some Waukesha girls, wanted their summer to be about more than just play - they wanted a hands-on learning experience.

That's what 25 middle school girls from Waukesha are receiving as they spend the week at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee participating in the GE Girls at MSOE, a program that allows students to explore science, technology, engineering and math in an interactive way and to form relationships with women in STEM careers.

The program is sponsored by GE Healthcare Women's Network in collaboration with MSOE and the Waukesha STEM Academy.

"The Waukesha STEM Academy really encourages 24/7 continuous learning," said Ryan Krohn, former principal at the STEM's Saratoga campus. "Partnering with GE and MSOE, where it highlights girls, adds a whole new layer to this and it allows them a neat look at potential careers."

This is the first time the program is in Milwaukee. The program is also being held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

"The GE girls at MSOE program enables us to reach girls during their middle school years, before many of them start losing interest in math and science," said Olga Imas, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at MSOE. "It would be incredibly satisfying to see any of these girls again as MSOE students someday."

Krohn said the seventh-graders who applied for the program were selected by Waukesha School District faculty. The program is free.

Krohn, who was recently promoted to the district's assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and educational accountability, said the school got this opportunity thanks to STEM's connections with GE.

"It's really an exciting opportunity for all the girls involved," Krohn said. "We're just lucky that they reached out to us."

Students are bused daily to MSOE where they are getting instruction from four Waukesha STEM Academy teachers and MSOE faculty.

Daily lessons, which were created by GE and MSOE, are focusing on construction, programming, electronics, health care and chemistry. The exclusive GE Healthcare curriculum includes activities featuring medicaltechnologies, physiology and biomedical engineering.

The girls get to experiment with X-ray physics, operate ultrasound technology and measure metabolic function with real medical devices.

At the end of the week, each participant will meet an accomplished female mentor from the GE Women's Network, primarily with engineering or technology backgrounds. Krohn said there will also be a graduation at the end of the week.

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