Hoover girls learn about math, science at GEMS expo

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 9:42 PM CST
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - It was all about girl power Friday at Berry Middle School in Hoover as hundreds of students gathered to learn about math and science.

Rocky Ridge Elementary School principal Dilhani Uswatte organized the Girls Engage in Math and Science, or GEMS, expo.

She said that it was the biggest GEMS event they’ve had.

The expo was held to get girls engaged in STEM and to “inspire girls to pursue STEM fields once they leave us in Hoover,” Uswatte said. “Such as engineering, computer analysts, fields in mathematics.”

More than 350 girls worked with a stem teacher to explore the various opportunities, including coding.

“We have little styrofoam pieces of blocks so they can actually code a person. We’re going to put those down on the ground and let the kids learn, really basics of coding,” said Elizabeth Brown, Engineering Academy Director Spain Park High School “My students are doing real coding with python and Matlab that engineers and scientists all over the world use. So, they’re already learning that in high school.”

American astronaut Jan Davis, who has logged more than 673 hours in space on three mission in the 1990s, attended the event. She encouraged the girls to shoot for the stars.

“I loved flying into space,” Davis said. “Being in space and learning, doing new things, serving our country, it was the best job ever.”

She says it’s important to get girls excited about STEM careers to encourage more diversity in the field.

“It’s very important to me to pass that message and encourage girls to go into STEM fields because we only have about 20% of women in those fields,” said Davis.

Hoover mayor Frank Brocato also attended the expo and offered words of encouragement for the students.

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