The team at Queen’s Connections Engineering Outreach hopes to provide support to both school age girls and their parents with its upcoming engagement program, Little STEMs. The daylong event is available exclusively on Friday, January 29, the first PA day of 2021.

The Little STEMs program originated one year ago and took place on the Queen’s campus, and included snacks, a lunchtime meal, and physical activities. Parents were asked to drop their daughters off in the morning and, as with any regular school day, pick them up in the afternoon. This year it will all take place online, though organizers promise it won’t be a day of Zoom.

“We’ve developed pre-recorded videos and accompanying resources that the girls can watch at their own pace in their own time,” said Lindsay Jones, an outreach coordinator with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science who will facilitate the day’s program. “It allows parents and guardians to give their daughters a refreshing twist on learning that they may not see in the classroom, all hosted by Connections full-time staff.”

Little STEMs in class 2020

Recognizing the underrepresentation of women across the entire engineering profession, the Connections team has developed a long-term perspective as it regards engagement with girls and STEM topics in the local area. The Little STEMs program, single day sessions designed uniquely for PA days, is designed for girls from grades 1 to 4. Those in high school are welcome to join the Connections ‘Girls Club,’ a monthly meeting intended to inspire, build confidence and leadership skills for participants. With time, the plan is to present a peer-mentorship program for the two groups which will allow for collaboration, mutual learning, and continued engagement with girls as they move through K-12 and into post-secondary education.

Both Little STEMs and the monthly Girls Club are free of charge.

“With a program like Little STEMs, we can help to provide youth with the opportunity to develop a positive and accurate perception of STEM, with a specific focus on engineering, and the possible careers that they can achieve,” said Scott Compeau, the manager of Connections Engineering Outreach. “In addition, the program helps youth develop STEM confidence which is partially linked to the reason why there is currently a gender gap in Engineering.”

“The idea behind having the program run on a PA day is that parents and guardians are still working on those days. While schools are closed, the kids still need to have something to do, something fulfilling and rewarding.”

Registration is open for the January 29 Little STEMs event. See the Queen’s Connections Engineering Outreach page for more information.