Getting teen girls interested in math and computer programming has been a struggle, but at EXCITE (EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) Camp at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, it's not a problem. The Journal News reports that along with lip gloss and glitter, girls are dabbling in building robots, kitchen chemistry and product marketing.
"Traditionally, girls have shied away from taking math, science and technology courses because they didn't think they could excel in them, or thought the classes were unrelated to what they wanted to do in their lives," said IBM general manager Katherine Hegmann, the camp's executive sponsor. "What many girls don't realize is that technology is providing opportunities for careers in virtually every field they could hope to pursue."
About 22 girls ages 11 to 13 participated this year from three New York area schools. 12-year-old Alina Lesnovskaya took a photograph of a test tube in which she broke down the DNA of strawberries. The DNA, which Lesnovskaya said was "pretty awesome," then was analyzed under a microscope.
"It's summer. They're in science camp. And they're loving it," said Sarena Meyer, an IBM marketer who coordinated the Yorktown camp with co-workers Andrea Gangluff and Marisa Madori. "That has to say something."
Similar programs are running in places such as Australia, India, Moscow and Taiwan.