GRADE camp sets girls up for bright futures

Elissa Rivas Image
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Camp helps guide girls to science careers
The summer camp aims to teach girls about technology and engineering

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A summer camp at the University of Houston is opening the eyes of teenage girls to careers in science and technology. It's called "GRADE Camp" which stands for Girls Reaching And Demonstrating Excellence, and it's successfully drawing girls into the world of engineering.

Teenage girls are building robots from scratch while attending a one-week program called "GRADE camp" at the University of Houston. It's one of many engineering-based projects they'll take on this week -- challenges which reveal their true potential.

Moyinoluwa Oyebanji, an 11th grade student at the Tenney School, said, "This actually makes a huge difference. Now that I'm sure that I want to do engineering, it narrows down the schools I'm going to go to."

"Sometimes we get pushed to the background, and we need to be brought back to the forefront," explained Taylor Vogel, a 10th grade student at Manvel High School.

GRADE camp, with its focus on bringing more girls into science careers, began more than a decade ago and since then, of the 800 participants, almost 70 percent have gone on to major in engineering in college.

UH Profession Dr. Stuart Long said, "Some of the ones who are a bit reticent in the beginning are our star students by the end."

Elisa Arango, an 11th grade student at Bellaire High School, said, "The main thing that I've taken away from this camp is that it is a great career to pursue, and it offers a lot of flexibility."

"I think I'll become a civil engineer like my dad," said 10th grade student Taylor Vogel.

UH Professor Dr. Fritz Claydon said, "As an educator I think it's great. You see the light bulb go on, you see that they get it, and they want to do it."

Administrators of GRADE Camp tell us students often come back in later years, in college and as young professionals, to serve as camp counselors and mentors. They take it as another sign of the program's success.