Sussex Tech student runs GEMS camp


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  • Bella Covell, Sussex County Technical School senior, engages campers in a popsicle bridge experiment.




  • Campers make volcanoes.




  • Larissa Collins, Sussex County Technical School senior and GEMS host, with campers.




During the week of August 13th-17th, the Hardyston Middle School home-ec room was transformed into an exciting science laboratory for young girls.

Larissa Collins, a rising senior at Sussex County Technical School, hosted a Girls Empowered by Math and Science (GEMS) STEM summer camp as part of her National Honor Society community service project. Sponsored by the Kiwanis of Club of Greater Hamburg in its first ever run, the program welcomed 27 local elementary and middle school girls aged eight through 11.

Each day the girls learned about an inspiring woman in a STEM field, tackled two advanced math and science concepts, and conducted related experiments. Solar ovens, bath bombs, and borax crystals were just three of the projects that complemented their daily lessons.

According to a 2017 survey by the United States Department of Commerce, only 24 percent of STEM jobs are occupied by women, proving that females are continually underrepresented in those respective fields. The mission of GEMS is aimed to change that. As a young woman with ambitions of entering a STEM-related field, Collins’ goal for the camp was to engage girls in math and science at a young age and equip them with the confidence to pursue them in the future.

The camp attendees had an empowering experience. Said one camper, “This camp taught me that women can do anything.” Another camper expressed her increased interest in science, stating, “This camp has made me want to explore more passionate and influential women in STEM and it made me want to do more experiments.”

GEMS was founded by high school senior Caroline Davidson from Ponte Vedra, Florida, with a mission of working together to encourage and support girls in STEM careers. Kiwanis International is a global community dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.

To learn more about GEMS or the Kiwanis Club of Greater Hamburg, contact Anita Collins at (201) 400-0897.





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