On Thursday, the BYU-Idaho STEM department hosted a Women in STEM event and invited junior high girls from surrounding middle schools to attend.

The event started in the John Taylor Building with a presentation by Bonnie Moon, the Women in STEM Society chair. She talked about several famous women in STEM history like Katherine Johnson, who used her math and science skills to further NASA in the 1950s. Moon also made an analogy about the four elements to help the girls understand the power of teamwork and being oneself.

“We started with a luncheon event just for the women in STEM (with) the girls and the women faculty,” Moon said. “But then we decided we didn’t want to just inspire them, we also wanted them to have an opportunity to serve and to start inspiring kids that were younger. So now the girls that are in our colleges, we reach out to them to mentor for this junior high day … so (they) have a chance to serve and mentor and help students.”

Bonnie Moon welcoming the junior high students to the event.

Bonnie Moon welcoming the junior high students to the event. Photo credit: Kenzie Fox

Moon said to “bring your strengths to the table” because a team needs all four elements. She said they need fire to lead, earth to ground, water to calm and air to uplift.

After Moon spoke, she brought up two students from the STEM department to tell the girls about their story in finding their place in STEM and the struggles they underwent to get there.

After all the speakers, the girls were split into groups and led through 6 STEM-related activities in the BYU-Idaho Center to help the girls get familiar with the different fields of STEM.

Junior high students participating in STEM activities.

Junior high students participating in STEM activities. Photo credit: Kenzie Fox

BYU-I students from various STEM majors volunteered as mentors for the girls attending and guided them through the various activities.

“I think it’s really good from a very young age to … visualize what you want,” said Elizabeth Spencer, a volunteer mentor. “And I think giving these girls an opportunity to see how cool the STEM world is (and) showing that … they can go anywhere and do anything.”

Grace L., one of the girls attending the event, said that her favorite activity was when they got to use their phones as VR headsets and watch as their flat screens became a 3D experience when the phone was placed in the headset.

“Events like these … it really helped … my love for science,” said Macie Patton, another volunteer mentor. “I thought it was really cool that other girls (get to) see that potential in themselves.”