Twenty-two middle and high school girls from Pitt County recently attended a Management Information Systems (MIS) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp, which was hosted and managed by the MIS department within the College of Business (COB). Participants were chosen based on their participation in Pitt County School’s AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program. AVID classes help students focus on academic and life skills that will help them be successful in college classes and in their careers.
The MIS STEM camp introduced area girls to STEM, increased their awareness of MIS concepts and career opportunities, and educated them on the MIS programs available at East Carolina University and the COB.
Donna Phillips, a COB MBA alumna and a senior economic development manager with Duke Energy, kicked off the STEM Camp with an address to the participants.
“The decline of females in STEM fields leaves them out of great and future career opportunities,” said Dr. Reed, a COB associate professor and camp organizer. “The MIS STEM camp was designed in an effort to address this issue and to make a small difference in eastern North Carolina.”
During the camp, attendees networked with MIS alumnae from Credit Suisse and SAS, current MIS majors and current ECU scholars. Students were taught how to develop a webpage and how to write code. Then, the girls were put in small teams where they collaborated and used their new skills to develop a small application that addressed social issues, such as:
- Women self-esteem issues
- Hurricane relief
- Health issues – sickle cell
- Crime reduction
The camp closed with each team presenting its new application to parents, ECU alumni and COB faculty and staff.
Participants learned a lot during the three-day camp. Martina Stoecke of Ayden Middle School said, “I can’t really choose my favorite thing because everyone was very welcoming and all the projects were really fun.”
Joslyn Russell, also from Ayden Middle School, said she loved the programming portion of the camp. “Learning how to code has always been interesting to me because if you make one wrong move, it (the application) will totally glitch.”
Talijah Barrett of North Pitt High School added, “My favorite thing about the camp was getting to meet new people and see how coding can turn into your life career.”
The MIS STEM Camp was part of Reed’s involvement with the Engaged Outreach Scholarship Academy and will be included in an overall research project conducted by Reed. Fritz Robinett, the district specialist for elementary and middle grades science of the Pitt County School Administration, was the community partner for this project and collaborated with Reed to plan the camp.
“In the end, several students indicated they were interested in pursuing STEM further, which was one of the main goals of the camp,” said Reed. “I’m confident we opened their eyes to the possibilities of a STEM career.”
Current plans include another MIS, STEM-related camp to be held in 2018.
-by Micheal Rudd, University Communications