Explore STEM engages girls at Mount Royal, SAIT and U of C

Nearly 1,000 Grade 9 girls, many from area Indigenous schools, today will attend Explore STEM at Mount Royal University, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the University of Calgary,as the three Calgary post-secondaries band together to showcase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The demand for individuals with a STEM background is increasing throughout the world. In Alberta, it is projected there will be labour shortages in STEM occupations, while women continue to be underrepresented in these fields.

Explore STEM is where leading-edge institutions and corporations work together to increase girls' awareness of STEM and related career options that will inspire them and help shape their potential futures. Using state-of-the-art technology at Mount Royal University, SAIT and the University of Calgary, the girls participate in hands-on sessions in areas such as multimedia, networking, cinema, television, Java programming, robotics, geomatics, web page design and more.

"In 1999 when we started this event, post-secondary institutions had way less female students. Now, there are often more female than male students, but fewer females pursue STEM careers," said Pamini Thangarajah, PhD, mathematics professor at Mount Royal University. "We need to increase their awareness, excitement and confidence they can do this."

This year the event is partnering with Science Odyssey, and is partly funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant.

At Mount Royal University: Students learn to build their own animated story, 3D video game or music video in a virtual 3D world; explore satellite data from NASA; create an awesome graphic for social media; and design a 3D model ring to wear.

At SAIT: Students meet experienced women in the trades and explore career options there; learn to protect computers from cyberthreats; learn the basics of programming a mobile app; and learn the secrets of live broadcast while recording and editing their own commercial and radio play.

At University of Calgary: Students work in teams to solve an engineering problem in a hands-on building activity; learn skills to construct an 'electronic gizmo'; use Kinetic Microsoft sensor technology to explore human movement and discover how technology is used in fields like kinesiology; and learn about the technologies currently being used to clean up and address oil spills.

For further information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Peter Glenn, Senior Media Relations Officer
Media cell: 403.463.6930