Campers first spent a week at
"We encourage girls to explore STEM fields and careers because women are underrepresented," Palmer said. "Yet females employed in STEM careers earn an average of 33 percent more than those employed in other fields."
At one of the camp's first activities at UT
After helping the girls don the uniform of a scientist -- white lab coat, gloves and goggles -- the two researchers supervised as the girls handled delicate sheets of carbon nanotube fibers. The curious campers learned that carbon nanotubes are very small, but they are extremely strong and have physical and electrical properties that make them suitable for applications in solar energy and flexible electronics.
Another of the week's activities took the girls to the motion capture laboratory housed in the
Outfitted with a head-mounted, 3-D display, the girls walked through a virtual house onto a virtual balcony and used a hand-held guidance device to "fly" through the computer-generated world.
A camper named Kaia, who is interested in technology and wants to be a computer scientist, said her virtual flying experience "was like being in an airplane with no windows or doors."
Fellow camper Rickera, who also had a turn in the virtual world, said the weeklong camp at UT
"We're learning new stuff that can prepare us for the future," said Rickera, who is thinking about pursuing a career as a pediatrician.
Professionals from the community were involved as well. Dr.
"This camp gives the girls a flavor of STEM careers and introduces them to women who are successful scientists and engineers," said Khan, who is an environmental engineer. "But integrated into it is how to get there, how to prepare for college, for both two-year and four-year institutions. There are many pathways these young women might take and many resources for them to tap into.
"The girls and their parents left the program with a renewed sense of confidence," Khan said. "Not only do the girls understand that a bright future awaits them, but they also have a deeper understanding of what steps to take to make that a reality."
One young camper, Aleisha, is already thinking about her future and making plans. She wants to study law and perhaps be a crime scene investigator. When asked about her impression of UT
"I want to go to a big university. There's more chance to meet people from different cultures," she said.
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