Rocket Power or Girl Power?

Encouraging Young Girls to Pursue STEM Fields

Abigail Johnson/Staff Reporter

On November 10th, my fellow female members of ERFSEDS (the Embry Riddle Future Space Explorers and Developers Society) and I found a way to give back to the community around Embry-Riddle. At an elementary school nearby, female members of ERFSEDS had the chance to talk and teach a class of 1st-grade girls who were curious about rockets.

Doing what members of the club do best, we opened some kits and showed the girls how to build some simple model rockets. This opportunity, dubbed the “Girl’s Only” gathering, was in response to a lack of female involvement in STEM educational programs. This class of girls was curious about science and math and were interested in the rocket assembly process. Each girl was told to dress as a superhero for this event or something that they wanted to be one day. “I want my girls to believe they can do anything,” their teacher explained to us.

As most of us know, rocket science is tough and is generally not a female populated career field. Though it is growing, it still is important to encourage the involvement of girls in the STEM community. Reaching out to young girls starting their education is a solution to changing the male to female ratio, as well as informing the public about modern sciences. “These young girls are so impressionable – I truly think they’ll remember this night for the rest of their lives,” says Engineering Physics junior Sophia Zaccarine. “When they first walked into the room, a lot of them said they didn’t know a lot about rockets and space. By the time they left after launching 7 model rocket kits, they were saying terms like “nosecone, fins” and “propellant.” It just goes to show anyone can learn anything when you give them a chance!” Seeing the smiles of the girls as the rockets went off definitely was something the members of ERFSEDS won’t forget, and the club looks forward to teaching the world more about rocketry here at Embry-Riddle.