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Bright Spot: Camp Gee teaches girls about STEM careers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A group of girls spent a week of their summer vacation at the University of Memphis learning about careers in engineering, science and math.

"We really want to encourage girls to go into engineering in particular but really any STEM discipline," said Dr. Stephanie Ivey.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

For years these fields have been dominated by men, but recently more women have been going into these careers and Dr. Ivey said that's a good thing.

"We have to have all of these great minds and different perspectives to solve some of the world's most challenging problems."

Camp Gee is for girls ages 12 to 18.

Since it started in 2004 over 1,800 girls in Memphis have attended the camp.

"We talk to them about different kinds of engineering: civil engineering, biomedical engineering,
mechanical engineering."

And it appears to be working.

Aayliyah Jatta, one of the mentors at the camp, told WREG she attended and is now an engineering major at the University of Memphis.

"Through GEE I realized that I liked civil which is with structures, transportation and things like that."

She said she now has great expectations after graduation.

"High pay, job security and just like thinking differently."

During the camp, the girls designed and built their own robots that they were able to operate through an app on their smartphones.

"I really want to be an engineer so this gave me hands on experience like what I don't get in school," said Abby Cook.

When the camp started the girls were asked what does a scientist look like to them.

They answered a man in a white lab coat.

Days later that answer changed.

"At the end of the week now tell us what you think about when you think of a scientist or
engineer and they're like 'That's me.'"

That's what Camp Gee is all about.