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Nicole Gordon

DU hosts summer camp for middle school girls

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Sixteen middle school girls from Denver Public Schools are on campus this week catching insects, building circuits, writing computer code and making new friends.

It's all part of the DU SciTech Summer Camp. The camp, which originally started at Regis University, is being hosted by DU for the first time. Faculty members Robin TinghitellaShannon Murphy, and Jennifer Hoffman - all from the Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics - organized the camp and are serving as instructors, with help from graduate students.

"Our goal in starting the camp is to give girls who might not have the opportunity to engage in science the chance to come to campus and immerse themselves in it," says Tinghitella, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. "Women of color are especially underrepresented in STEM fields, so it was important to us to recruit DPS students from diverse backgrounds."

She adds that research shows that middle school is a critical time to maintain girls' interest in STEM fields, as many girls lose interest in high school due to socialization or lack of exposure to science.

The camp is free for all attendees thanks to a grant from the DU Public Good Fund. The organizers plan to follow up with the girls throughout the school year to keep them engaged in science.