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Building skateboards, building confidence

Ass featured in the Milton Standard-Journal

MILTON— Empowerment, confidence and passion are being taught through the lens of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) this week during the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) Girls STEM Summer Camp.

The camp, for girls in grades six through eight, uses hands-on activities and interactive workshops to foster an appreciation of the STEM fields and their use in the real world.

“The educational initiative for this camp is to share STEM fields and concept with our girls at a young age so that they can see themselves working in STEM fields later,” CSIU STEM Specialist Tanya Dynda said.

“Learning wrapped in the fun hands-on activities each girl does makes for long-term memories.”

Every morning, Dynda plans to start the day with a story of a successful woman in STEM, before entering the day’s activities.

“It’s all about exposure and awareness of things that are out there,” she said. “I wish I had something like this growing up.”

The first of this week’s activities was put on in partnership with Lectec, a do-it-yourself electric skateboard company.

Lectec, founded by Southern Columbia graduate Jared Ebersole, makes kits that teaches kids about electricity and other STEM-related fields, while assembling the skateboard with tools and everything else needed for assembly included in the kit.

Ebersole got the idea for his skateboard kits after building one for his nephew, who ended up being curious about how the skateboard worked.

Every girl at STEM Camp got their own skateboard kit to assemble. Along with the kit, Ebersole donated safety equipment like helmets and knee pads.

Before diving right into assembling their electric skateboards, the 16 girls at the camp on Monday talked and played a game with Ebersole through Zoom.

Once his presentation was complete, the assembly work began.

“My goal is to help inspire you to become the next generation of engineers, scientists and leaders that will then be creating new technology,” Ebersole said.

“Whatever the challenge is, you’ll get through it.”

After assembly, the skateboards can travel up to 15 mph in their highest mode.

Once the camp is over on Friday, the girls get to take their skateboard home with them.

“STEM awareness and exposure at the middle school level, especially for girls, is increasingly relevant as technology continues to advance,” Dynda said.

“Growing the girls’ confidence in their STEM skills and abilities while building problem-solving skills increases the likeliness they find themselves in STEM careers.”

Along with the skateboard project, the CSIU has multiple field trips lined up for the rest of the week for participants.

Today, the campers will learn about aviation when they visit the Penn Valley Airport, in Snyder County, for a “STEM to the Skies” event.

Earth and animal sciences will be the focus of Wednesday’s field trip when the camp travels to Penn’s Cave for a cavern and wildlife tour.

The week’s field trips close with an environmental literacy lesson with the Vernal School and Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper.

The camp ends on Friday with a media and design lesson before the campers will get the opportunity to showcase everything they learned throughout the week to their parents and families.