12/27/17 — This STEM class runs on girl power

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This STEM class runs on girl power

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 27, 2017 5:50 AM

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Mia Mozingo, 6, watches as Grace O'Daniel and Steven Reese set up the balloon-powered jet car at Edgewood Community Development School Tuesday afternoon. The car was the final project for the Wayne Educating Girls in Engineering camp, which O'Daniel, a student at Wayne Country Day School, attended along with 14 other girls from schools around the county.

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Each package came with enough parts to make one car and a diagram of how to assemble the car.

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Mia Mozingo, 6, puts together balloon-powered jet car with the help of Grace O'Daniel, a junior at Wayne Country Day School, at Edgewood Community Development School on Tuesday afternoon. The car was the final project for the Wayne Educating Girls in Engineering camp, attended by 15 girls from around the county.

Grace O'Daniel sat next to 6-year-old Mia Mozingo in a classroom at Edgewood Community Developmental School on Tuesday afternoon and piece by piece, handed her the colorful parts of the "jet car" created during a recent engineering camp.

Mia smiled, obviously pleased with herself as the orange and yellow pieces snugly fit together.

Then came time for the power to make it run.

Grace and Mia each picked up a balloon, huffed and puffed unsuccessfully.

Instructor Steven Reese joined them, inflating a balloon before placing it on the rear of the plastic car. He released it and the three watched it take off across the table.

O'Daniel, a junior at Wayne Country Day School, was one of 15 high schoolers who attended the recent W-EDGE -- Wayne - Educating Girls in Engineering -- held at Wayne Community College. The event had a strong emphasis on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

The camp was sponsored by the college's mechanical engineering and computer-integrated machining programs in partnership with the Goldsboro Mayor's Youth Council.

This was the first time for the four-night event, offered just for females.

"We always have a lot of males obviously in the program," said Reese, an engineering and manufacturing instructor at WCC. "We just wanted to show (female students) that they can be successful in engineering."

Isabella McLeod, a junior at Wayne Early/Middle College High School, and Diya Shreenath, a sophomore at WCDS, signed up for the camp because it sounded interesting, they said.

"They told us what to do and we personalized it and printed this out," McLeod said.

"I've always been interested in engineering," Shreenath said. "I liked printing out the cars."

Kasey Jones, a junior at WEMCH, said she was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed the camp.

"It was just something different and it was fun," she said. "It ended up not being as challenging as I thought it would be."

The cars were made on different types of printers, including a 3-D printer.

The end goal was not only to entice more females to programs like the one offered at WCC, but incorporate a partnership with students at Edgewood.

At the beginning of the camp, the students made a visit to Edgewood, a K-12 school for developmental challenged students. The bonus teachable moment came as they learned how the school meets the needs of its students and the families that they serve.

"This (camp) made a way to bring STEM into the school," said Lou Rose, a digital teaching and learning coach with Wayne County Public Schools and also advisor for the Goldsboro Mayor's Youth Council, which produced most of the students attending the camp. "That was the hope, that they can come here and do something that they can use at Edgewood."

It was exciting to see the connection made between public and private school high schoolers and the students at Edgewood, Rose said.

Despite their academic or aptitude differences, the project allowed them to find common ground.

"It really meets the needs of all kids," she said. "It can be broken down so they all can do something."

McLeod said she likes to challenge herself, something the camp allowed her to do in different ways.

"I think this helped me challenge myself as a person," she said. "I might do it later on, take more classes."

It was also for a good cause, added Emily Pate, a sophomore at Wayne School of Engineering, referring to the Edgewood students who will also learn some of what she did at the camp.

"The way Mr. Reese taught us was very good because he made it so I can understand," she said.

The hope is to make the engineering camp an annual event, Reese said.

Meanwhile, Edgewood was presented with samples lots of the "jet car" project, with an eye toward continuing that in the future.

"Hopefully they can tell us what they need or want," Reese said. "We're always doing projects at the college so it'll be awesome."